Are You Happy With Michigan’s Bottle Bill?

So this week I’m in West Virginia, to speak at a Nature Conservancy conference on the power of social media. Hint: You should retweet this story.

And I’ve noticed that the folks in West Virginia are really friendly. They say “Hi” and they seem to mean it. Maybe that’s because I’m in “the holler,” as the cab driver said on my way here this morning. But despite their overt happiness, the people of WVA still don’t have a bottle bill. They just throw away the bottles and cans.

Now I was awed on the way here, in a two-hour ride from Pittsburgh, with the beauty of the rolling mountain scenery in the wild and wonderful state.¬†John Denver had it right. And I can’t stop humming “Country Roads.”

On the cover of today’s Charleston Gazette is a story featuring Unknown Environmentalists, lots of them, with brown paper bags over their heads.

The story is about efforts by a local group called Pick Up America, which staged at a rally at the state Capitol to push for a 5-cent deposit on beverage containers. In Michigan, we have a 10-cent deposit. And I’ll admit it’s a pain to reclaim my 10 cents, but it (usually)¬†keeps me honest and encourages recycling.

Which makes me wonder: Do you appreciate Michigan’s 10-cent law, and think it should even be expanded to non-carbonated beverages (water and juice)? I, for one, am happy to have it, despite the hassle. And to think, West Virginia, the second-largest coal-producing state, is quibbling about a nickel.

— Photo via


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