Combat the Scourge of Litter and Plastic Waste

Target: Glenn Youngkin, Governor of Virginia

Goal: Create a container deposit program in Virginia to increase recycling.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that bottles and cans make up a significant amount of litter in the United States. Many states have legal penalties for littering–but these are seldom enforced at the smaller level, adding to the limited incentives for many not to litter to begin with. Fortunately, other states outside of Virginia have implemented a system to reduce waste by encouraging the recycling and reuse of many pieces of common litter: the container deposit system.

Container deposit systems are state-led programs that issue a fee for “ownership” of the single use containers holding beverages, mostly those that are carbonated. The retailer is charged per container, typically around five cents, and that cost is passed onto the the consumer. The consumer then has a choice of returning the container to reclaim the fee at an approved location or simply disposing of the container elsewhere. At the time of this petition, only ten states have such programs. Will Virginia join them?

Statistics from the Bottle Bill Resource Guide show how states that have put container deposit bills into effect have seen a reduction in container-based litter totaling around 69-84% and a decrease in total litter ranging from 30-65%.

Instead of the $3.5 million of taxpayer money spent on litter cleanup every year as reported by the Virginia Department of Transportation, why not let the litter’s owner foot the bill through a container deposit? And even if that trash does end up on the street or in trash bins bound for the landfill, there are people everywhere who would take the opportunity to salvage these items and redeem them towards money in their own pockets. It’s a win-win.

Sign the below petition to encourage Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin to support a container deposit program.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Youngkin,

Despite advertising campaigns and legal penalties, millions of tons of trash are ending up on land and in our waterways every year. Never mind the level of reusable waste which finds its way into landfills and the irreversible consequences of allowing those items to fester in the earth.

A simple and comprehensive container deposit program is what Virginia needs. Its essential ecosystems, fragile waterways, and pristine landscapes, especially those housing farms, are too much a part of the state’s identity and a critical resource of the country and world to sacrifice it to inaction. What good are these things, and what even is Virginia, if we allow them literally to be trashed?

We residents and visitors of Virginia urge you to include container deposit legislation in your legacy as governor. Other states have already made the pledge; now it’s your turn to make it real in your homeland. If Virginia truly is for lovers, please show us that love is real.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Dying Regime


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