Deposit opponents miss the message in the bottle

And here's the part he really doesn't like:

"The bill would require Harford County to establish nine redemption centers. That would cost us $5 million a year to operate — and I am sure the neighbors will not want them. It would also cost about $1 million to establish the centers."

I asked Del. Maggie McIntosh, D-Baltimore, one of the lead sponsors of the measure, about Craig's criticism.

"Those numbers are pulled out of the sky," she said, before making the following suggestion to Craig:

"Why not invest in reverse vending machines at $15,000 per machine? Pick nine or more sites and install several at one site or have grocery stores position them outside. Have one or two drivers empty them daily and take them to the recyling center."

I'm with McIntosh on this.

I don't have another Shakespeare quote for this point. But here's some advice I got years ago from a college president: "Never make a problem out of an opportunity."

That seems to be what the bottle-deposit opponents are doing, seeing a problem where there's a chance to make some money and help the environment.

Beverage wholesalers earn interest on the deposits — they get to hold all those nickels for 45 days after collecting them from retailers. After 45 days, the deposit money goes to the state.

The state, in turn, pays out the nickel-per-container deposits to the reclamation centers, plus the 3-cent-per-container handling fee. If they want, retailers can get in on the act by setting up those reverse vending machines. Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, nonprofits — in fact, anyone can get in on this. As Shakespeare might have said: "What's not to like?"

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