A Monday Idea
David Lazarus, columnist for the L.A. Times Business section (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) had a great column yesterday. "Fuming over cigarette butt litter." Seems that cigarette butts are the most common form of liiter, they're not really biodegradable (the cellulose lasts for years and are loaded with various toxins than can affect animals that ingest them) and world-wide account for 135 millon tons of butts littering the landscape. (Anyone whose volunteered for beach clean-up day can attest to that.)
So, Lazarus interviewed Thomas Novotny, professor of epidemology at UC San Francisco, who had a modest proposal. One, "Stop selling filtered cigarettes. The product can be altered to eliminate this form of pollution." Novotny argues that filters on cigarettes don't do diddly to make cigarettes safer. In fact, they do the opposite by making the smoke seem "smoother," which can encourage more smoking rather than more coughing.
To which Lazarus adds another bright idea: "Charge smokers an extra dollar per pack as a deposit fee. If the smoker brings back 20 butts to any Caliofnria cigarette retailer, he gets his dollar returned. If not, well, maybe someone else will do it.
"I've seen enough street people going through garbage cans in search of recyclable materials to think that there'd probably be more than a few folk willing to pick up butts from the ground to score a few bucks in deposit fees."
Heck, think how much could be earned during beach clean up days, money that could go into the pocket of the volunteer organizations out there making the world sparkley clean!
Concludes, Lazarus, "Surely there's at least one lawmaker in Sacramento who realizes we don't want our state buried in cigarette butts. If you warite the bill, I"ll band the drum. Deal?"
Hey, works for me!