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December 12, 2012

Port Arthur signs petition for bottle bill

PORT ARTHUR — Port Arthur has become part of a petition for the Texas Legislature that would mean less trash and more cash.

The Port Arthur  City Council passed a resolution Tuesday morning that would enable the city to sign a petition in support of the Texas Bottle Bill. The bill is a potential piece of upcoming legislation meant to establish refundable deposits for all aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers sold in Texas.

There are 10 other states that have similar bottle bills: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont. Some have been in place for more than 40 years.

While the Texas Legislature would have to pass the bill before bottles could be redeemed for cash, the move made by Port Arthur Tuesday was a step to show the legislature that the city supports the bill.

“It’s a good idea for Port Arthur because it will reduce blight,” Ruenette “Maggie” Bolden, founder of the Texas Recyclers Association, Inc., said. “It will create jobs.”

Bolden and her daughter Clover Bolden, who run the nonprofit agency have been trying to advance this bill for more than two years by talking with council members and the community at-large. And their work has finally paid off, she said.

Now the decision lies with the 2013 state legislature.

The bill would establish redemption centers where people could return their empty beverage containers and receive cash in exchange for recycling, which would create jobs. And financial incentives have been shown to be the best way to get people to recycle, said Mary Wood, a member of an organization that goes around Texas advocating for the bottle bill.

Wood and her colleague Patsy Gillham attended the City Council meeting Tuesday morning in their Texas Bottle Mobile to show their support. The two advocates travel around the state in their multicolored automobile and speak to city councils, schools and nonprofits about the bottle bill in order to garner support.

“Today the city, tomorrow the county,” Wood said.

The Texas Bottle Bill organization recently had an economic study done about the impacts of the bottle bill. The study found that the bill would create more than 5,000 full-time jobs and produce more than $400 million in economic activity. Plus, the increased recycling activity would cut down on the amount of litter tossed out car windows, which would reduce trash in waterways, thereby cleaning up the water supply.

The bill would also compliment curbside recycling, Wood said, and have more of an effect on trash that is produced on-the-go, which means less litter. And all it would take to create such a change is a 5-cent refund on every plastic, aluminum and glass container.

email: bcrum@panews.com

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