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WVU SSC Travels to Charleston to Support the Bottle Bill
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by Carmen Borsa, WVU Sierra Student Coalition | 2007

So, $3 million for roadside cleanups, or a 10 cent deposit per bottle that you get back? Seems like a NO-Brainer!

On February 8th, students from West Virginia University’s Sierra Student Coalition traveled to Charleston, WV to meet with senators and delegates. Their concern for the passage of a WV Bottle Bill prompted the 300 mile trip. West Virginians currently use over 1 billion containers each year, the majority of which end up in landfills or along roads, costing tax payers over $3 million a year on litter clean up. The Bottle Bill, SB 370 and HB 2773, would require a 10 cent deposit on all beverage containers sold in the state. This fully refundable deposit ensures containers are being returned and recycled.

The SSC joined members of the WV Citizen Action Group, WV Sierra Club and Adopt-A-Highway volunteers in encouraging our state legislators to support the passage of the Bottle Bill. The West Virginia Citizen Action Group set up the lobbying day and a press conference with Governor Manchin, where he was presented with the results of Adopt-A-Highway surveys from across the state. You can take action by signing WVCAG’s online petition supporting the Bottle Bill at http://www.wvbottlebill.org .

The WVU students came to leave their calling card - 135 empty beverage containers. Each legislator, plus Governor Manchin, received one of these calling cards. The cans were affixed with facts about the Bottle Bill and specific reasons why students in WV want the bill to be passed. They also had a chance to meet personally with representatives from Mon County and express their support. WVU nursing student, Gibran Mancus, explains how the bottle bill makes sense: “all around campus I see people throwing cans and bottles into the trash or on front lawns... and I see how the bottle bill would change our habits and actions.”

Carmen Borsa, a graduate student in soil science, is from Michigan, where there is already a 10 cent deposit on cans. “I grew up with a bottle deposit. When I left Michigan, I was astounded to find bottles and cans on the roads- in Michigan you would rarely see containers as litter.” When the students left Charleston, they left each legislator with a choice: would the empty “calling card” be considered trash or would it be worth 10 cents?

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