An Act Updating the Bottle Bill (S 1588, H 2943)

Summary

This bill updates the Massachusetts Bottle redemption, the most successful recycling program in the state, to include non-carbonated beverages and reinstates the clean environment fund.

Lead Sponsors

Representative John Hecht

Senator Cynthia Stone Creem

 

Background information

Since it was originally enacted, the Massachusetts Bottle Bill, which places a 5 cent redeemable deposit on carbonated beverages, has consistently been the most successful recycling program in the state. Unfortunately, when it was conceived, no one foresaw the rise of bottled water, juices and other non-carbonated bottled beverages and the bottle recycling program only applies to carbonated beverages.   Our colleagues at the Massachusetts Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill wrote:

Since the Bottle Bill’s passage in 1983, over 35 billion containers have been redeemed, contributing to a healthier environment, cleaner and safer communities, and a stronger economy. But to keep up with the times and consumers’ tastes, the bottle bill must be updated.

An Updated Bottle Bill would expand our container deposit system to include “new age” drinks such as non-carbonated beverages, water, iced tea, juice, and sports drinks. It would decrease litter and increase recycling.

An estimated 3.3 billion beverages are consumed annually in Massachusetts, of which 1.3 billion are “new-age” (e.g. water, sports drinks, flavored teas), and this number is only expected to increase. As consumers purchase more of these beverages, an increasing number of containers are finding their way to landfills and by the sides of our roads.

You can read the Fact Sheet here.

Current status

Awaiting action in the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.  Passed last year in the Senate but stalled in the House.  Hearing was held on September 17, 2013.  No action to date so a coalition of organizations are taking the issue to the ballot.

Read more about their initiative.

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