In response to the recent 16 editorial (“Making recycling work better takes investments,” The Herald, Nov. 16) – the Washington state Legislature can improve recycling by introducing a deposit return system for beverage containers, to be operated by beverage distributors with no taxpayer funding, as envisioned in the WRAP Act during this year’s legislative session.
We support the deposit return system because we want to be good stewards and because we need to achieve much higher recycling rates to decrease litter in Washington, recover more material at a higher quality, and support a circular economy.
According to a study commissioned by the Department of Ecology, Washington only recycles around 44 percent of its beverage containers. What happens to the other 56 percent of beverage containers that are not recycled in Washington? They are sent to landfills, or worse, too often littered along the Evergreen State’s roadsides, beaches, streams, rivers and special places.
We can and should do better; look at our neighbors in Oregon, where a deposit return system has been in place since 1971, and over 85 percent of beverage containers were redeemed and recycled last year.
The editorial ended with a call for incentives to keep us from trashing the planet; incentivizing Washingtonians with a deposit return system like Oregon’s is the way to go. It has proven to have the best return rates in the world while protecting the quality of the material, something a curbside recycling model does not.