The first ever Earth Day was in 1970. The celebration was an effort to raise awareness of what consumerism was doing to our planet and how all of us could help fight the effects of pollution. Recycling was a brand new idea, and many states made their own laws regarding just how to do it. In 1976, Michigan, like a handful of other states, enacted the 10-cent deposit on all beer and pop sold in bottles and cans.The thought was that more people will participate in recycling if there is a monetary incentive attached to the action. And it's worked. 89% of bottle deposits are redeemed. However, an overhaul of the nearly 50-year-old program is desperately needed.

 

According to an article from Detroit Free Press, the recycling infrastructure in Michigan is in shamefully outdated. Money that should be going to upgrades is being allocated to other environmental programs, including water clean up. Kalamazoo benefited greatly from this extra resource in 2010 when a pipeline burst and flooded with oil, so at the very least we are still seeing environmental improvements from a program set up in the interest of our ecosystems. Hhowever, if our recycling facilities don't get the upgrades they desperately need, we may not be able to have the funds to help the next time Michigan sees a natural disaster.

Sure deposit fraud is a concern, but shouldn't we be more focused on fixing our facilities, making them more efficient, and working to streamline machines so that we can continue the spirit of that very first Earth Day?