I own a property with a large amount of road frontage. Each month, I spend a good deal of time picking up dozens of discarded beer, hard cider and various other alcoholic beverage bottles and cans – as well as non-alcoholic ones (soda and water). I rarely, however, find discarded wine and liquor bottles – could it be because the deposit on those beverages (15 cents) is three times the amount of the deposit for other beverages?

On my daily commute on Interstate 295, I cannot help but notice these same types of cans and bottles littering the grassy median and the sides of the highway. Clearly, a 5-cent deposit is not enough to deter a great number of people from thoughtlessly tossing cans and bottles from their vehicles and onto the sides of our roads, into homeowners’ yards, farmers’ fields or woods and streams.

If the current 15-cent deposit on liquor and wine bottles is reduced to 5 cents, one can be assured that the amount of Maine’s roadside litter will increase significantly. In a state that relies upon its natural beauty to attract tourism revenue, this does not make good policy.

State Rep. Ellie Espling argues that reducing the deposit will “keep more money in the hands of the consumer.” If I’m not mistaken, the consumer is refunded this money when the bottles and cans they purchase are brought to a recycling center.

I agree that the deposit amount for all types of beverages should be made uniform: by increasing the deposit to 15 cents on everything. My first-hand experience tells me that many folks couldn’t care less about throwing 5 cents out the window … but 15 cents? Now that’s enough to make most think twice.

Lou Demers

North Yarmouth

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