The Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition is just that: a coalition. We believe that Vermonters are interested in supporting bicycling and walking for many diverse reasons. The same is true for recycling, and in particular the bottle bill -- people can view it from many different perspectives, and still find something worth preserving and expanding.
In one respect, cyclists have a special familiarity with the impact of the bottle bill; roadside litter affects our safety. You would be hard pressed to find a regular cyclist who had never gotten a flat tire from a stray piece of glass on a road, sidewalk, or shoulder. And perhaps more important than flat tires, a cyclist trying to navigate a narrow corridor between a curb and automobile traffic faces a difficult decision when coming suddenly upon a broken bottle in their path. Swerving, stopping short, or riding through: there are no good options.
Vermont’s bottle bill has coincided with a reduction in litter by over a third in the last four decades -- representing many difficult and dangerous cycling situations that never had to happen.
We all can agree that anything that increases recycling rates is good for all of us in terms of reducing energy use and reducing climate change impacts. But we hope we as cyclists can bring awareness of one more reason to support keeping and expanding the bottle bill.
The writer is executive director of the Vt. Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition