Daily Archives: April 27, 2015

The recycling market and Act 148

This is the second of two posts about the Bottle Bill, unclaimed nickels, and universal recycling. Part 1 can be read here.

On July 1, the state of Vermont will ban all recyclable materials from landfills. Under a law called Act 148, everything recyclable is supposed to be kept out of the waste stream.

Hooray, right?

Well yes, but there are issues. (Aren’t there always?) Foremost among them, unsurprisingly, is money. Handling trash will become more expensive post-July 1, especially for trash haulers in smaller, more rural service areas. Haulers can’t impose a charge on recycling, so they’ll have to recoup their costs by raising their tipping fees.

That could induce sticker shock in some places. Tom Moreau of the Chittenden Solid Waste District estimates that some disposal fees could triple under Act 148.

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The Beatings Will Continue Until Everything Is Awesome

This came out a few days ago, but I can’t resist. It’s so great in such a terrible way.

Last week, the Gannett corporation (owner and strangulator of the Burlington Free Press) held a big event to announce the new name for its digital spinoff. The winner: TEGNA, said to be taken from letters in the word “Gannett.” The name was immediately and widely panned, but those initial reactions tend to come and go. The name is dumb, but it won’t hurt the company.

gannettNo, the bad part was the cringeworthy lip-sync performance of “Everything is Awesome” (from The Lego Movie) by top Gannett executives. If you haven’t seen it, please take two minutes out of your day. It’s just incredibly wonderful in its stupefying awfulness. And thank journalism watchdog Jim Romenesko for digging up the video and posting it online.

Okay, seen it? We’ll continue.

Everything about that is UN-awesome, from the tone-deaf messaging to the terrible performances. Oh, and misspelling “commission.”

But the topper?

Yup.

Nickels from heaven

In these hyper-tight budget times, would it surprise you to know that there’s a couple million bucks just sitting there, waiting for the State of Vermont to pick it up?

This isn’t just one-time money either; it’s an ongoing, steady source of revenue. And yet the Legislature hasn’t made a single move to grab it.

“What is it?” you might be asking.

It’s the unclaimed nickels from deposit bottles that never get redeemed. Right now, that money goes back to the bottling industry — an estimated $2 million per year.

Free gift for the bottlers? The PYT’s from VPIRG certainly think so. They’ve been lobbying, without success, to revise the Bottle Bill and get that money into public coffers.

Ten states have Bottle Bills. In four, the state gets all the unclaimed money. In three, the state gets the lion’s share but a slice goes to retailers, bottlers, or distributors. Only in Iowa, Oregon and Vermont do private companies get all the money. And since yjomhd seem to work in those seven other states, I think it’s safe to assume that the companies don’t need the extra revenue to collect and process the containers.

In fact, they get more money than they need from another source: selling the containers on the recycling market. A lot more money. But we’ll get to that that later.

Okay, so why isn’t the Legislature falling over itself to get those nickels? Two reasons; one immediate, one more far-reaching.

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