News Release



For Immediate Release

Bethesda, MD: On Sunday, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church and Maryland PIRG hosted a litter cleanup of Rock Creek with more than 30 volunteers. They were joined by Joanna Guy, Maryland PIRG Program Associate, Charlotte Brewer, the Environmental Chair at Cedar Lane, and VIP guest Christina Denny, Miss Maryland 2013. The Cedar Lane Church has been hosting the bi-annual Rock Creek cleanup for over 10 years. This year, the Church was thrilled to host the event to demonstrate the problem of recyclable bottle litter and support of Maryland PIRG’s Don’t Trash Maryland Campaign, which is working to increase recycling and reduce litter by passing a Maryland bottle bill.

“We are so excited that you—Maryland PIRG—are here today to tell people that a bottle bill would help decrease the number of recyclables that get discarded as waste,” said Brewer. “People are learning that we have to reduce the number of bottles and cans that we are throwing in the trash.” Volunteers dug through drains, waded through the stream along Connecticut Avenue and got their hands dirty in the branches and briars of the woods to collect 3 dozen bags of trash and recyclables and 2 tires.

Senator Brian Frosh provided a statement for the event stating, “My recycling legislation helped make Maryland a leader in litter reduction 25 years ago, but now we've fallen far behind. Our 22% recycling rate for beverage containers looks absolutely pitiful next to the 80% collected in other states with bottle deposit laws.”

This year alone, 3 billion recyclable beverage containers in Maryland will end up as trash or litter instead of being recycled. “Our low recycling rate means more leaky landfills, dirtier air from incinerators, and more litter and litter cleanup costs. Maryland can do better,” said Joanna Guy Maryland PIRG State Advocate. “We’re thrilled that Gov. Martin O'Malley has included a container deposit program in his Comprehensive Climate Plan. By bringing the Bottle Bill to Maryland we can TRIPLE Maryland’s container recycling rate and drastically reduce litter.”

 “So much of the trash I found was bottles—beer bottles, cans, and water bottles. I even picked up a can that actually had holes in it. The aluminum was disintegrating because it had been sitting in the river bank for years,” said Denny, Miss Maryland 2013, “As a representative of our beautiful state, I would love to see us fix this problem.”

“Instead of being reused, billions of containers end up in our parks, streets and bodies of water,” said Frosh. “We need to turn these bottles and cans into money, not trash. I support common sense legislation that will increase recycling, reduce waste and keep our beautiful state clean. I sincerely appreciate the efforts and dedication of Maryland PIRG to bring the bottle bill to our state and protect our environment.”

The bottle bill is a redeemable deposit on recycled beverage containers—usually 5 cents.

“The 10 states with bottle bills have container recycling rates triple ours and have all seen major reductions in litter. A 2011 impact analysis by the University of Maryland's Environmental Finance Center asserts that ‘beverage container deposit programs have proven to be the most effective tool for reducing litter,’” said Guy. “Maryland PIRG applauds Governor O’Malley, State Senator Frosh, and Delegate Maggie McIntosh for supporting the bottle bill.”

The Rock Creek clean up is a successful event that will hopefully continue for another decade, but without the discovery of an overwhelming number of bottles and cans. “We brought people together,” said Brewer. “We are making our own little difference.”

Maryland PIRG, the Maryland Public Interest Research Group, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest advocacy organization that takes on powerful interests on behalf of its members, working to win concrete results for our health and well-being.

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