Friday, April 9, 2010

Municipalities Would Gain Several Million Dollars with Bottle Bill Update

Groups tout DEP report which shows savings on litter cleanup and trash fees

Joint news release from MASSPIRG, Massachusetts Sierra Club, and MassRecycle

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has issued a report that itemizes how much cities and towns will benefit from updating the Massachusetts bottle bill, legislation which has been pending for years in the state legislature and is getting a big push this spring from a broad coalition, including the League of Women Voters, Mass Municipal Association, the Environmental League of MA, and many more.

With growing awareness of the waste and public expense that come from throwaway containers, an expanding coalition has been pressing the Legislature to finally expand the nickel deposit system to cover water and other “single serve” beverage containers that now end up as litter in parks, on roadsides, and in landfills.

The DEP report, “Municipal Benefits of an Updated Bottle Bill,” shows that municipalities can expect to save between $4.3 to $7 million annually, by avoiding cleanup and disposal costs for these beverage containers. “This would amount to a savings of roughly $1 for each resident of the Commonwealth, each year,” said Claire Sullivan, Executive Director of the South Shore Recycling Cooperative, an association of 13 communities south of Boston. “For example, Weymouth and Plymouth could each expect to save about $50,000 per year. Duxbury’s DPW Director independently estimated his cost to manage the beverage containers that aren’t in the deposit system at $10,000.”

“The Bottle Bill is the state’s most successful recycling and litter prevention program. Since its inception in 1983, over 30 billion containers have been redeemed, contributing to a healthier environment, cleaner and safer communities, and a stronger economy,” said Phil Sego, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Sierra Club. “But to keep up with the times and consumers’ tastes, the bottle bill must be updated.”

“Every year, we send over 1 billion containers to our landfills, enough to fill Fenway Park to overflowing,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG). “If these water, juice, and vitamin drink containers had a deposit, we’d eliminate litter, reduce trash, and save taxpayer dollars, as the DEP report shows. We need an update now.””

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