Oklahoma representative suggests nickel deposit program

State Rep. Ryan Kiesel, D-Seminole, is awesome. Kick-ass Kiesel hopes to introduce a bill next legislative session to add a 5-cent deposit on plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans, according to an article from The Associated Press. When? Can it be now?

This proposed bottle deposit might as well be called the "Keep Oklahoma College Kids from Starving" bill because that's in effect what it does. OK, here's how it works: When you buy a 12-pack of pop or beer or whatever, you pay a 5 cent deposit on every can (so an extra 60 cents), but then you can return those same bottles to be recycled and get all that back. In states that already have a return program, the process is all automated and conveniently located in grocery stores, so returning the bottles and getting cash back is streamlined.

And here's how it helps poor college kids: Say the parental unit buys you a couple 12-packs of pop when they come visit, but you get to take the bottles back for the return. Save enough bottles, and you're looking at a Taco Bell feast. Trust us on this " bottle returns have paid for many a Mexican Pizza with no tomato.

Some groups oppose the bottle return idea, according to the AP story, including the Oklahoma Grocers Association and an entity representing convenience stores. An Oklahoma Malt Beverage Association rep was also quoted in the story as having opposed similar proposals in the past.

Unlike those opposing the plan for reasons involving sanitation, infrastructure and cost issues, Kiesel sees it as a win cubed (that's win-win-win in the vernacular). "Whether you're looking at the millions saved by reducing litter on our highways, the increase in state revenue without raising taxes, the positive environmental impact or the opportunities for economic growth, a bottle deposit program delivers on all counts," he reportedly said.

And since most Oklahomans need improvement at recycling, the state will still make money on all those unreturned bottles and cans, according to Michael Patton, executive director of Metropolitan Environmental Trust, a Tulsa-based organization that operates recycling businesses.

"We have one of the lowest recycling rates possible," he said. "We estimate that the average Oklahoman will purchase 242 water bottles in a year. They'll recycle 22."

And now we're sad again.

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