Everyone knows Californians are passionate about good health and good environment. And what better symbol of both than good, clean water?
Californians guzzled about 1 1/2 billion gallons of bottled water last year. But now all those little bottles are creating one big mess.
Three million bottles a day are clogging state landfills.
"They don't decompose," says Doug Corcoran, a district manager for Waste Management. "They are just the way you have them in your hand 50 years from now."
"This is becoming ubiquitous. It's as common as a cell phone in one hand, plastic bottle in the other," says Darryl Young, the director of California's Department of Conservation. "People don't know that these need to be recycled and can be recycled."
Californians are some of the best recyclers in the world. But when it comes to little water bottles only 16% get recycled. Even the environmentally conscious think of them as trash.
Some state lawmakers want to give consumers an economic incentive and double the deposit from 2.5 cents to 5 cents per bottle. But the legislature, which can't agree on anything these days, may not be able to agree on this either.
So the state Department of Conservation is running an ad campaign, hoping to remind people who drink to their health to recycle for the health of the environment.