Some Legislators want to help road slobs

If you read this column often, you know how much I dislike road slobs, who toss their garbage out their vehicle windows onto my woodlot. I walk the road from my house to my woodlot every couple of weeks and fill one bag with garbage and another with returnable bottles.
Maine has one of the best returnable bottle bills in the country, but the fee apparently isn’t high enough to discourage the road slobs from tossing their bottles along the road.

I can tell you that road slobs drink Bud light and smoke Marlboro cigarettes. They also love those plastic nips bottles. I was pleased when the legislature stuck a 5 cent returnable fee on those nips bottles, but it should have been higher. A nickel isn’t going to stop them from tossing those bottles onto my woodlot.

Seems like every year the legislature considers bills designed to weaken our returnable bottle law. This year’s attack is LD 1703, which would reduce the deposit on wine and spirits’ bottles from 15 cents to “not more than 5 cents.” That means the deposit could be repealed all-together.

It’s estimated that the return rate for these containers could drop by 50 percent if this bill is enacted – and I think that’s low.
The Wine Institute and Distilled Spirits Council are the principle advocates for this change, and shame on them. Perhaps they ought to come to Mount Vernon and help us clean up our roads sometime.

I want to thank the Natural Resources Council of Maine for alerting me to this issue, and for leading the charge to defeat the bill.
The bill is currently being considered by the legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee. I’ll let you know what the committee decides, but it is not too early to contact your own legislators to let them know you opposed this bill.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.