On one window of Patrick Dwyer's storefront in Adams-Morgan, above the "Se Habla Espanol" sign, the shopkeeper has posted a handwritten message offering a $300 reward for information about the people who have been dumping glass bottles on his doorstep in recent weeks.

On the other side of the doorway, behind the "We Speak American" sign and next to the biodegradable cleanser display, the poster that sparked the bottle-dumping protest declares Dwyer's opposition to a proposed bottle return law: "Initiative 28. It's a Real Waste."

In the cultural and political crossroads of a neighborhood where politics are most comfortably worn on the sleeve, Initiative 28 has spawned a lively debate that has been slow to catch on elsewhere in summer-deadened Washington. Dwyer, 42, who owns a health food store near the bustling intersection of 18th Street and Columbia Road NW, has willingly stepped into the crossfire, risking the ire of community leaders and local activists by opposing the bottle bill.

"In essence, I feel like I'm being picked on for being public about it," said Dwyer, who lives in Takoma Park and has run Patrick's Good Food Store -- formerly known as Home Rule Natural Foods -- for 15 years.

Dwyer is clearly bucking the political tradewinds in Adams-Morgan. The local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, League of Women Voters and Ward 1 Democrats have all endorsed Initiative 28.

One of Dwyer's customers wrote him to say that she will not shop at his store as long as the anti-bottle bill sign remains in the window. Another wrote to call him "just another greedy businessperson."

No one has yet identified the glass-dumping culprits, who Dwyer said have left as many as 50 soda, juice and mineral water bottles on his doorstep in a single night. "It almost looks like a yuppie's garbage can," he said.

If approved by voters Nov. 3, Initiative 28 would place a 5-cent deposit on most bottles and cans, refundable when the beverage containers are returned to the store. Nine states have such deposit legislation.

Dwyer said his store, a long narrow shop that stocks organic avocados and natural toothpaste, has no room to store returned bottles, some of which may be dirty and attract vermin. On Thursday, crates of soft drinks were stacked in the window awaiting shelf space and cases of bottled Perrier blocked part of an aisle in the back of the store.

"What . . . am I going to do with all those bottles?" Dwyer said.

But bottle bill supporters, including 20-year resident B. Harold Smith, chairman of the Adams-Morgan Advisory Neighborhood Commission, said the prevailing sentiment in the community is pro-bottle bill. "People are tired of having their tires punctured by broken glass," he said.

Marilou Righini, an Adams-Morgan resident who is active in the League of Women Voters, agreed that her neighbors support the bottle bill because the neighborhood has an acute litter problem.

A spokesman for the Bottle Bill Initiative Campaign said his group does not condone the actions of those who leave bottles on Dwyer's doorstep. "It's just the sort of thing we're trying to fight," he said.

Midday shoppers in Dwyer's store last week offered mixed opinions about whether the proprietor is right or wrong on the bottle bill issue.

Dorothy Jackson, who lives at Columbia and Ontario roads NW, said that recycling is a better way to address the litter problem.

"I think it's difficult for people to sort {the bottles} out," she said. "The more complicated you make it, the more difficult it becomes."

Recycling activities that offer compensation for returned glass and paper, she said, would make it "worth people's while to clean up after themselves."

But Bess Slade, a Montessori teacher who lives in nearby Mount Pleasant, vigorously disagrees with Dwyer's bottle bill stand.

"I think it's true he's against it, and that's why I don't shop here a lot," said Slade, who has lived in two states with deposit laws, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Saving and returning bottles, she said, "is not a hard thing to do."

"People are lazy," she said.

Lazy or not, Dwyer said, bottle deposit legislation is an idea that does not necessarily work. Dwyer said he sells 12 half-gallon glass bottles of milk at his store each week to shoppers who pay a $1 deposit on each one. Even then, he said, he usually gets back only 10 bottles.

"They cost a buck and people still throw them away," he said. "How will people return them for a nickel?"