Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Co-Chair of TUE Committee Michael Morrissey's hometown newspaper endorses the update to the bottle bill

OUR OPINION: Flexible stance on bottle bill makes it easier to swallow

The Patriot Ledger
Posted Oct 22, 2009 @ 07:47 AM
Last update Oct 22, 2009 @ 07:48 AM


In 1981, the idea that people would pay $1 for a bottle of water was laughable.

There was no Red Bull. No Monster.

And iced tea? That came strictly from a pitcher, steeped in the fridge or on sun-drenched porches and window sills.

Proof that much has changed in the past 27 years can be found among the blueberry thickets at World’s End in Hingham, the sands of Wollaston Beach in Quincy and on school ballfields throughout the South Shore.

The clear plastic bottles and brightly colored cans that litter these spaces are testament to the need to update the state’s bottle bill.

Originally targeted at carbonated beverages, Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed the 5 cent deposit be expanded to include water, iced tea, juices and energy drinks.

His Energy and Environment Secretary, Ian Bowles, recently told the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee that the exempted products – once niche items – now account for 30 percent of the beverages in the Bay State market.

Bowles said expanding the law to include non-carbonated beverages would bring the state in line with recent laws passed in Maine, New York and Connecticut, reduce pressure on local landfills and encourage greater recycling rates.

State Sen. Richard R. Tisei, R-Wakefield, suggests expanding the bottle bill will cost taxpayers $20 million a year “on top of all the other taxes and fees they will soon be paying.”

It’s more likely, however, that the measure would save us money.

“The need for this common-sense update couldn’t be more overdue,” said Ramon Bullard of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group. “By recycling these containers, cities and towns save money on trash and litter collection.”

As for critics who claim brimming curbside recycling bins prove we are already making great strides, they’re right. Yet a scan of any public space will show you how much further there is to go.

We are more sensitive to the strains an expanded bottle bill could place on small retailers and support Patrick’s willingness to craft a bill that would keep them from being overwhelmed by the increased load of returnables.

Patrick administration officials emphasized that they would be flexible to accommodate businesses’ concerns, noting that Maine enabled certain small businesses to opt out of the redemption program.

For years after it was enacted, the bottle bill slaked our thirst for less litter.

We have recycled 30 billion bottles and cans since 1982, according to figures from MassPIRG. Even with the deposit amount still a nickel, about 70 percent of containers with deposits are recycled.

Sweeping changes in the beverage market, however, require a new approach.

This isn’t a law that should be kicked to the curb. It’s one that should be recycled.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Debate with Industry representative on the update to the bottle bill

WGHB- Janet Domenitz Executive Director of MASSPIRG debates Chris Flynn head of the Massachusetts Food Association on Greater Boston

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Op-Ed: Let’s clean up the Commonwealth by Rep. James O'Day)

Appeared in the West Boylston Banner on 11/12/09
by Representative James O’Day and James McCaffrey

On Oct. 7, the state legislature reviewed an update to our bottle bill, which would add bottled water, sports drinks, iced tea, juice drinks and other “new age” beverages to our current list of deposit containers.

Our existing bottle bill was passed 27 years ago. It is the most effective program ever devised to prevent litter and increase recycling. Not only has our bottle bill been a huge success, it has become a model for other states, Canadian provinces and nations throughout the world.

Due to the bottle bill, we redeem/recycle an amazing 80 percent of beverage containers. It stops valuable petroleum-based plastics from going to our state’s disappearing landfills. It dramatically cuts litter that burdens our state and municipalities with increasing clean-up costs, saving communities up to $7 million annually. It creates jobs in recycling and textiles, providing the feedstock for recycled materials such as upholstery, carpeting and Polartec-type fleece.

Unfortunately, because of huge changes in consumer tastes, one-third of beverages sold here – resulting in over one billion containers per year –are unintentionally outside the deposit system. The solution is simple: the legislature needs to update the bottle bill to include these containers.

Our bottle bill is a model of producer responsibility: Those who create the waste are those who pay to clean it up. When we redeem a container, we get our nickel back. But when someone chooses to throw theirs in the trash (or out the car window), they forfeit their nickel. These nickels indirectly pay for the huge cleanup and disposal costs that are burdening our municipalities. The bottlers help pay for the costs of recycling by providing a small amount, just 2.25 cents per redeemed container. This fee keeps the redemption system running.

The resulting system, which places the clean-up burden on the bottlers and those who decide to turn their recyclables into litter or trash, works incredibly well. Unfortunately, with the popularity of newer non-deposit beverages, our streets and parks are becoming litter-strewn, our landfills are reaching capacity, and our storm drains are being clogged by non-deposit beverage containers.

Most of the containers that would be added to the bottle bill are PET plastic (No. 1), which is made of 99 percent petroleum. Consumers like PET plastic because it is lightweight, shatter-resistant and re-sealable – just right for people on-the-go. It’s also virtually indestructible. PET will not break down for thousands of years. Fortunately, it’s easily recyclable, and industry is in desperate need of more.

Recycling more of these containers will help divert huge quantities of materials from our disappearing landfills – while reducing our carbon emissions. Our existing bottle bill results in diverting over 100,000 tons of containers every year from our landfills. Meanwhile beverages not covered have resulted in 60,000 tons of containers being sent to landfills annually. Adding these new containers would save over 400,000 barrels of oil every year. This huge savings would further allow the state to meet its carbon reduction goals. It also complements curbside recycling by targeting on-the-go containers.

Throughout the region, nearly every state has updated their bottle bills, including Connecticut, Maine and New York. Over 100 Massachusetts cities and towns – including Worcester and West Boylston – have passed resolutions in favor of updating the bottle bill, and it also enjoys strong support in the state legislature. Because it’s good for the state, for our cities and towns, and for you, Representative O’Day is a co-sponsor of this important legislation.

Representative O’Day welcomes your feedback on the bottle bill or any other issues. He can be reached at (617) 722-2220, or, through e-mail, at James.O’

State Rep. James O’Day represents the 14th Worcester District, which includes West Boylston and parts of Worcester. His office is in Room 254 of the Statehouse, Boston, MA, 02133. James McCaffrey is the Director of the Massachusetts Sierra Club.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sen. Donnelly and public in Arlington speak up in favor of the Bottle Bill

Public Square TV, October 30th 2009. Sen. Kenneth Donnelly and MASSPIRG Executive Director Janet Domenitz talk about updated Bottle Bill. Also great people on the street moments from show showing great public support of the update to the bottle bill in Arlington, MA.

Updated Bottle Bill Offers Relief to Ratepayers, the Environment

Waltham Newswatch, February 19, 2009. State Rep. Thomas Stanley discusses his version of the updated Massachusetts Bottle Bill.

(WWLP) - Governor Deval Patrick is looking to expand the state's bottle bill

(WWLP) - Governor Deval Patrick is looking to expand the state's bottle bill as part of his budget recommendations for fiscal year 2010.The goal is to help keep Bay State cities and towns clean while increasing revenue for environmental programs.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Updated Bottle Bill Hearing Draws Overwhelming Support

Visit for a short video featuring clips of the event!
On October 7, the Bottle Bill Update (H3515/S1480) bill was heard by the Legislature’s Telecommunications, Utilities, & Energy Committee. A huge crowd came to the press event before the hearing – and then packed the hearing room. Since the event, we've had representatives on the radio on stations throughout Massachusetts. Just about every major daily newspaper in the state has come out in favor of the bottle bill, including the Boston Globe, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Patriot Ledger, Springfield Republican. Over 100 cities and towns – in every corner of the state – have passed resolutions in support of the Bottle Bill update.

Help update the bottle bill

Contact your State Representative and State Senator: If you know who your legislators are, click here to contact them. If you're unsure, click here. Ask them to Support the Updated Bottle Bill, H3515

Has your City/Town passed a resolution of support? Click here to see the list that have. If yours isn't on the list, contact your City Council, Board of Aldermen, or Selectmen and ask them to pass our municipal resolution.

Volunteer!: There's lots you can do to help pass the Bottle Bill Update! Contact for more information.


Update the Massachusetts Bottle Bill

The Bottle Bill is the state’s most successful recycling and litter prevention program. Since the Bottle Bill's inception in 1983, over 30 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 consumer’s 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. It would add up to $20 million to state revenue via projected unclaimed deposits.

An estimated 1.3 billion “new-age” beverages are consumed annually in Massachusetts, 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.