I’m responding to the April 25 article by the Associated Press’ Susan Haigh, which mischaracterized the bottle bill as “obsolete” and missed several important points. Rather than disappearing, container-deposit programs are expanding all over the world.

In fact, Maine is poised to expand the bottle bill in response to the shocking number of 50-milliliter “nip” bottles lining our roadsides, ditches and sidewalks. More than 8 million nips were sold in Maine in 2016, according to the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages; it’s estimated that number will jump to 12 million in 2017. A bipartisan bill, L.D. 56, would add a 15-cent deposit to the tiny bottles.

Maine’s bottle bill is one of the most successful in the country. We recycle about 90 percent of our bottles and cans in Maine – which is more than double the state’s average recycling rate for other materials. The deposit program supports over 1,000 jobs at hundreds of redemption centers; reduces costs for towns and taxpayers for litter cleanup, container collection, transportation and recycling; and provides a source of funds for charities.

Not to mention, the plastic and glass collected in deposit programs like ours is cleaner and far superior in quality to material produced by single-stream recycling programs. Since it lacks the contaminants found in curbside programs, it can be made into new bottles and cans rather than “downcycled” into aggregate uses.

Indeed, the beverage industry has been trying to dismantle these container deposit laws for years, because they don’t like to pay to recycle the products they create. They’d rather have taxpayers foot the bill.

Sarah Lakeman

Cumberland