SHORT TAKES: Bottle and can returns should continue

By Daily News • Last Updated 11:04 am on Monday, October 07, 2013

Michigan lags behind most states when it comes to recycling and so our state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is looking at ways to make it easier for Michiganders to do their part.

We are all for finding ways to keep waste out of landfills, but we’re not fans of one change this group is considering. The idea being mulled is to create regional recycling centers where bottles and cans could be returned. In addition, some local retailers would be allowed to opt out of being a return site for bottles and cans.

Voters spoke loud and clear in 1976 about their support for creating a return program that gives consumers 10 cents when they turn in certain beverage bottles and cans. And if you look at our roadsides and compare them to other states where there is no such law, you know Michigan’s program is working.

Last week, this paper reported about the overwhelming success of Montcalm County’s recycling program. Most locations are overflowing, in fact. Countywide recycling has increased 32 percent during the past year. We know there are ways to increase successes like these even further, but futzing with part of the program that’s actually working really well — the bottle and can return program — isn’t the way to do it.

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We know it’s October, which is the season for tricks and treats. But vandalism goes way beyond the fun associated with Halloween.

First, there was the arson of the historic Whites Covered Bridge in Belding, and then the failed attempt by a couple to steal metal from the devastation. More recently, the portable bathroom at Tower Mountain also was torched — not for the first time. And, on a less criminal but just as serious note, we’ve noted this weekend that the annual pumpkin smashing as begun.

We’re not sure what kind of thrills these vandals get from destroying property, but all incidents were senseless and mean-spirited. While we may not ever be able to stop or understand these kinds of crimes, we — as communities that care — can keep our eyes open, report suspicious activity and take a stand against vandalism here.

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Today we head into our second week of a partial government shut down caused by the inability of Democrats and Republicans to agree on a budget.

We’ve all heard where both sides stand and we know it’s going to take a lot of compromise to get past this current debilitating debate. But we the people wish our representatives in Washington would get on with doing just that — representing the people.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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