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The energy thing...

by WayneTimes.com
June 29, 2024

Anyone following this column knows I have a thing about the science of climate change. For decades this Holdraker home has driven towards taking on the dilemma one step at a time.

Way back in the late 1990s I jumped on the early quasi-gas saving hybrids and eventually went total electric vehicles five years ago.

Not only that, but we insulated the house, added solar panels two and a half years ago, and followed that up with heat pump technology water heater and a whole house heat pump system.

This past year we bought a Chevy Bolt and just last week we leased a totally new Chevy Equinox EV as a second vehicle and for newspaper deliveries.

Still not satisfied, we replaced our gas stove with a modern electric version and are in the process of  shutting out all natural gas.

When we first moved into the current home, due to the need for the business to operate 24/7 even during power outages, we also have a whole house natural gas Generac generator as a back-up. This will soon be replaced by solar back-up batteries.

Yes, we recycle anything and everything and make sure the thermostat in the house is set at 72 degrees all year round.

We use plant-based garbage bags and watch our use of plastics whenever possible.

In New York, many questioned the initial bottle/can redemption process, but today we take it for granted. Yes, the Holdraker household sticks to that regime. Beer, malt, wine products, carbonated soft drinks, soda,  and water not containing sugar are all exchanged for that 5 cent deposit. 

But wait! Ironically something New Yorkers take for granted is NOT universal throughout the United States. Currently, only 10 states and the U.S. territory island of Guam accept deposit bottle and cans in some form.

So, why hasn’t the nation jumped onboard with methods to prevent usable recycling materials from either being chucked on the side of the road, or ending up in landfills?

The chief answer is politics. Texas attempted to introduce a bottle bill (SB 635) into legislation in 2011, but lost by a vote of 101 to 40. It would have required a ten-cent deposit on beverage containers under 24 fl. oz. and 15 cents for larger containers. Other states have had the same push-back.

Regardless of those beverage companies ads promoting bottle/can recycling, beverage manufacturers often secretly oppose them. Even though laws requiring deposits on bottles and cans are an important link in the recycling chain and American consumers have increasingly favored recycling to benefit their community and the environment, again only 10 states have  had the gonads to move forward.

But wait! In New York, since enacted, redemption rates have been an average of  70 to 80 percent. So, not everybody is onboard to getting their cash back. Seems 5 cents per is not incentive enough for some. A new bill could double New York’s bottle/can deposit fee and expand it to wine and liquor, but again, politics has reared its ugly head.

On top of that, only 9% of current plastics find their way back to recycling.

Yes, I know the system is flawed, but we are in the middle of social change from fossil fuels to new methods.

As for the thought that you cannot afford any of the alternative energy saving methods, there are plenty of incentives, tax breaks and low interest loans to achieve an energy cost-savings.

Simply go to NYSERDA.com for a world of climate change, rebates, energy saving programs.

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