Thursday, December 15, 2011

Increased Recycling of Beverage Containers Creates Jobs

CRI Releases New Report, “Returning to Work: Understanding the Domestic Jobs Impacts from Different Methods of Recycling Beverage Containers”

Expansion of Massachusetts’ bottle bill could create as many as 500 jobs in Massachusetts, according to a new study by the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) called, “Returning to Work: Understanding the Domestic Jobs Impacts from Different Methods of Recycling Beverage Containers.” Several studies on jobs and recycling have been released this year, and they all show recycling to be an area of jobs growth even during these difficult times. This study is different because it looks specifically at US jobs related to beverage container recycling. The study authors also created a user-friendly jobs calculator, which is available on CRI’s web site (

A bill to update the state’s current container deposit law has been proposed by Rep. Alice Wolf (D-Cambridge) and Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), and has wide support from the public and in the state legislature. The bill would add water, sports drinks like Gatorade, and juices to the existing law.

“The Bottle Bill’s ability to vastly decrease litter and increase recycling is well-known and documented,” said James McCaffrey, Director of the Massachusetts Sierra Club. “The added benefit of increased jobs should provide our state legislators to swiftly enact this badly needed bill.”

This report completely dispels any fears of job losses, said Janet Domenitz, the director of MASSPIRG. “This report is more than a stocking stuffer. It proves what a huge gift updating the bottle bill would be to the economic engine we’re trying to jumpstart in Massachusetts.”

The Sierra Club, MASSPIRG, and many other organizations have been working to pass an update to the bottle bill.

“Expanding the bottle bill is good for our neighborhoods, good for our environment, and good for our pocket book,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “This legislation gives us a real opportunity to prevent litter on our streets and in our parks while generating important recycling jobs.”

The study finds that different recycling methods create different numbers of jobs, and deposit-return systems create 11 to 38 times more jobs than a curbside recycling system relative to beverage containers, with the range due to system parameters and system performance.

Prepared by CM Consulting and Sound Resource Management Group, the study examined the three most common U.S. collection methods for beverage containers: beverage container deposit programs; single-family curbside; and multi-family and “enhanced” curbside, which includes community dropoff bins, self-haul and away-from-home collection.

The study explains that the primary driver of jobs in any recycling system is the sheer volume of material entering the system. Container deposit-return (CDR) systems generate dramatically higher volumes of beverage containers than curbside systems, an average of 76 percent recovery in CDR states compared to just 24 percent recovery in non-CDR states.

The secondary driver of container-recycling jobs is the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) workers needed to collect, sort and transport the materials. CDR systems, in which containers are handled more or less individually, employ an average of 7.34 FTEs per 1,000 tons of containers, while curbside systems require an average of 1.66 FTEs in an automated system and 4.46 FTEs in a manual system.

Glass bottles manufactured in a CDR state have six times more recycled content than bottles made in a state without a container deposit (72 percent vs 12 percent). The study also looked at beverage container recycling using virgin raw materials. It found that ten times more US workers are employed in recycling PET than in producing an equivalent amount of PET resin from virgin raw materials (9.9 FTEs per 1,000 tons of recycled PET vs 0.6 FTEs per 1,000 tons of resin from virgin raw materials).

The report is available for download on the CRI web site: and at

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bridgewater becomes the 205th “Bottle Bill Update” Community

Bridgewater Becomes the 205th “Bottle Bill Update” Community

Bridgewater, MA – Following a request by the Bridgewater Green Committee, and introduced by Peter Riordan, Council member, the Bridgewater Town Council voted unanimously on November 22 to support an update to the state’s Bottle Bill, the 5¢ deposit on beverage containers.

“This sends a strong message to our legislators that the citizens of the Commonwealth see the huge benefits that bottle bill brings us like less litter, and more recycling,” said Bernice Morrissey, a member of the Bridgewater Green Committee. “It will also save the town substantial funds in litter cleanup and disposal costs.”

The grassroots effort to get endorsements from cities and towns was launched last year by the Coalition to Update the Mass Bottle Bill. The effort reached an important milestone in October when the 200th of the 351 cities and towns in the state passed the resolution.

The Updated Bottle Bill, H890/S1650, sponsored by Representative Alice Wolf (Cambridge) and Senator Cynthia Creem (Newton), would add water and juice bottles and similar beverage containers to the current deposit law, which puts a 5¢ deposit on most carbonated beverages. The deposit law, or Bottle Bill, on the books since 1983, is the single most successful recycling tool in the state, with 80% of covered containers redeemed or recycled every year.

“Enacting the bottle bill update will also mean more jobs,” said Phil Sego of the Massachusetts Sierra Club. “Recycling is one of the state’s fastest growing sectors of the economy. We’ve been a national leader in creating jobs. Local recycling companies are eagerly awaiting this update.”

“The numbers say it all: 77% public support according to a MassINC poll, 80 formal bill sponsors in the Legislature, and 205 cities and towns endorsing,” commented Janet Domenitz of MASSPIRG.

The neighboring communities of Easton, Raynham, and Sudbury also recently passed resolutions in favor of the bill’s passage. “Passage of this bill would be a huge help to all cities and towns", said Pat Neary, a Bridgewater Green Committee member. “Everyone will benefit from cleaner streets and parks.”

# # #

Abington St. Patrick’s parade organizer to hit charitable milestone

St. Pat's Day parade organizer may break 2 million mark in '12
News Release: December 5th

[Abington, MA] - Jack Bailey expects to break the 2 million mark by the summer. That’s 2 million bottles and cans worth a cool $100,000.
And it all goes to put on Abington’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and other town programs. Since 1979, the year Massachusetts enacted a bottle bill, Bailey has been collecting them, and stuffing his garage on Orange Street with people’s donations.
A typical week’s haul is about $6,500, $4,700 of which goes to pay for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and $1,800 for the high school marching band.
The 2012 parade – the town’s 33rd annual – will be held on Sunday, March 18 and is expected to be the biggest and best ever. Eleven bands have already committed to the parade, Bailey said.
As St. Patrick’s Day draws closer, donations pick up, he said.
The parade usually costs about $18,000 to produce. The Abington Arts Council and other donations and sponsorships also help pay for it.
“We don’t overspend. We budget accordingly,” said Bailey, chairman of the parade organizing committee.
Bailey accepted and won a $10 bet in 1980 that he could put together a St. Patrick’s Day parade that would draw a crowd. He’s been doing it every since and the parade has grown in size and participation every year.
Town Manager John D’Agostino called Bailey’s effort to reach the 2 million-$100,000-mark a true milestone.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bottle Bill in the Boston Globe

This weekend Yvonne Abraham wrote about the Bottle Bill in the Boston Globe.

The article is good, and we need to keep the story in the news. You can help out by writing a letter to the editor using our tool or by sending a letter to

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Write a letter to the editor

On October 27th the Updated Bottle Bill Coalition went to the State House and delivered signatures in favor of the Updated Bottle Bill to legislators. We shattered our goal of 10,000 signatures, bringing 15,000 signatures to Beacon Hill.

They're feeling the pressure, so we've got to keep it up.

You can help by submitting a letter to your local paper to support the Updated Bottle Bill

The opinion page is one of the most read pages in the newspaper and is closely tracked by an elected official's office. Writing your own opinion on the benefits of the Bottle Bill will help shape the conversation because it will be read by thousands of people.

Besides, who doesn't like seeing their name in the paper?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Last-ditch Effort to Expand 'Bottle Bill'

News Release: October 28, 2011

Boston, MA - A group of environmental advocates -- dressed as pirates, cats, and even Little Red Riding Hood -- called on Massachusetts legislators to expand the state's bottle-recycling program yesterday.

In a Halloween-themed push, backers of legislation that would add a 5-cent deposit onto the cost of bottled water, sports drinks and other non carbonated beverages, showed up at the Statehouse in costume yesterday to "trick-or-treat" throughout the building and share their views with lawmakers.

The supporters of the so-called "bottle bill," including college students and members of environmental organizations, were brought together by MASSPIRG, the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, an organization that has been one of the bill's main proponents.

"Updating the bottle bill means less litter, more recycling and saving cities and towns money," said MASSPIRG Executive Director Janet Domenitz. "That is not a trick. That's a treat."

The group visited the office of each member of the House and Senate, bringing with them a total of 15,313 postcards from constituents asking that their legislators support the bill.

UMass Lowell students Ryan Bichekas and Brooks Hubbard helped distribute postcards and information packets to area representatives.

"It's really important just to try to help the environment," said Bichekas, a senior studying political science. "It's being pushed to the brink as it is."

Bichekas, who joked that he consideredwearing a mask of former President Richard Nixon, who was president when the Environmental Protection Agency was established, said he believes the bill creates a necessary incentive for people to recycle.
The original bottle bill, passed in 1982, was the first statewide recycling program in Massachusetts. Retailers and consumers pay a 5-cent deposit when purchasing canned or bottled carbonated drinks, and consumers who return the bottles to redemption centers get their deposit refunded.

The proposal to expand the system is sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Creem, D-Newton, and Rep. Alice Wolf, D-Cambridge. Sens. Jamie Eldrigde, D-Acton, Ken Donnelly, D-Arlington, and Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln, are among the 80 co-sponsors of the bill.

Why is the Bottle Bill “bottled up”?

News Release: October 28, 2011

Swampscott, MA - I’m a walker. I walk every day. When I don’t want to walk, my dog Soxie pesters the bejeebers out of me until I get my daily constitutional. Soxie doesn’t just like to walk, she loves to walk; it’s the highlight of her day.

When I walk, I always pick up litter along the way. Whether it’s our beautiful beaches, our lovely parks, or our neighbors’ rail trails or woods, I’m always picking up as much litter as I can carry out. By far, the greatest litter offender is the ubiquitous plastic water bottle. (Coffee cups run a distant second.)

I read a story last Spring about the Charles River Conservancy (CRC). For many years they have enlisted a corps of volunteers for an annual Spring clean up along the banks of the River Charles. The CRC volunteers have reported the same thing – plastic water bottles are the trashiest offender to a cleaner environment. It used to be soda and beer bottles but that stopped once the “Bottle Bill” was established.

The answer is simple, right? Let’s require a deposit on water bottles.

According to the Sierra Club: “the Bottle Bill, the nickel deposit on beverage containers, is the state’s most successful recycling and litter prevention program. 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.”

There currently is an updated Bottle Bill sponsored by our excellent State Rep, Lori Ehrlich. This 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” 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, littering the sides of our roads and fouling our beaches and parks.

If you feel as I do about cleaning up our environment and cutting our government’s increasing disposal costs, I urge you to check out the Sierra Club’s web site on this issue.

While the bill is expected to have the overwhelming support of legislators in both Houses, it is currently “bottled up” in the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, co-chaired by our Salem neighbor Rep. John Keenan. You can do your part by letting your feelings be known to Keenan and/or another Committee member. You can get their contact information at

Friday, October 21, 2011

Trick or Treat: Postcard Delivery Day Thu, 10/27

The Campaign for the Updated Bottle Bill's
Trick or Treat: Postcard Delivery Day
Thursday, October 27, 11am-1pm

Meet us at the Masspirg Office, 44 Winter St, 4th Floor, Boston or at the State House for this important event!

11am (sharp) - Meet at the Masspirg Office, costume optional
11:15am - Walk up to the State House speak with members of the press
11:30am - Deliver 10,000 (that's ten thousand) postcards to legislators, walking around the State House in costume to deliver our message: We want a treat (the Updated Bottle Bill), not a trick (more litter)!

RSVP to Gabi, at 617-292-4800 or

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Two Hundred Mark Hit: Norfolk becomes 200th municipality to endorse Updated Bottle Bill

Boston, MA – In a tremendous testament to the statewide support for updating the Bottle Bill, the coalition pushing the bill announced today that over 200 cities and towns have passed resolutions in support of this pending legislation. “It’s rare to see this kind of overwhelming agreement between big cities, small towns, eastern and western Massachusetts, and cities and towns everywhere in between,” remarked Geoff Beckwith, Executive Director of the Mass Municipal Association. “The message from Massachusetts cities and towns is crystal clear: the Updated Bottle Bill is good for our communities.”

Norfolk became the 200th municipality to urge the legislature to pass the Updated Bottle Bill. Receiving recognition for the milestone are (left to right) State Sen. Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), Town Selectmen James Tomaszewski, James Lehan, and Rob Garrity, and State Rep. Dan Winslow, (R-Norfolk)
The Updated Bottle Bill, H890/S1650, sponsored by Representative Alice Wolf (Cambridge) and Senator Cynthia Creem (Newton), would add water and juice bottles and similar beverage containers to the current deposit law, which puts a 5¢ deposit on most carbonated beverages. The deposit law, or Bottle Bill, on the books since 1983, is the single most successful recycling tool in the state, with 80% of covered containers redeemed or recycled every year.

“The numbers say it all: 77% public support according to a MassINC poll, 80 formal bill sponsors in the Legislature, and 204 cities and towns endorsing,” commented Rep. Wolf. “This bill will reduce litter, increase recycling, and save taxpayers precious dollars,” she added.

The town of Norfolk has the distinction of being the 200th town to pass the resolution. “Passage of this bill would be a huge help to all cities and towns, said Rob Garrity, Norfolk Town Selectman. “Everyone will benefit from cleaner streets and parks.”

The grassroots effort to get endorsements from cities and towns was launched last year. The effort reached an important milestone in May when 176, or more than half, of the 351 cities and towns in the state passed the resolution. On May 5, Mayor Tom Menino of Boston held a press conference to announce the halfway mark had been reached. At that event, Mayor Menino noted that Boston alone is estimated to save half a million dollars a year once the updated bottle bill passes. “I urge the Legislature to pass this bill,” he said.

The bill had a hearing before the Telecom, Utilities and Energy Committee on July 20, and awaits action by that Committee, which is chaired by Representative John Keenan (D-Salem) and Senator Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield). The coalition, spearheaded by MASSPIRG, Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, Mass Audubon, and over 80 other organizations has called for the bill to be reported out of committee by November 1.

# # #
See full list of supporting municipalities.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cape Cod Times: Update bottle bill

Editorial: September 08, 2011

Let's face facts. The 5-cent deposit on carbonated bottles and cans, collected in Massachusetts since 1983, has worked.

Today, 80 percent of beer and soda containers are recycled — more than twice the recycling rate for nondeposit containers. The bottle law has also reduced litter, employed 14,000 people in the recycling industry, and helped nonprofits gain extra cash from bottle and can collection efforts.

So if the law works for beer and soda containers, why wouldn't it work for noncarbonated containers?

When the bottle bill was passed 28 years ago, carbonated beverages dominated the market. Today, noncarbonated drinks are the fastest-growing segment of the market. These products now make up more than half of all nonalcoholic beverages sold, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

"Every year across Massachusetts, more than 30,000 tons of noncarbonated beverage bottles are buried in landfills, burned in waste-to-energy plants, or tossed onto our streets, parks and beaches," wrote Kenneth Kimmell, commissioner of the state DEP.

"That's enough plastic bottles to fill Fenway Park ... five times."

As a result, Massachusetts must update its bottle law to include bottled water, sports drinks, teas and other noncarbonated beverages.

"In Massachusetts, 40 percent of the beverages sold come in containers not subject to nickel deposits, and these same containers account for 83 percent of the bottles and cans we throw away," Kimmell said.

According to the DEP:

— An expanded bottle law would save Massachusetts communities an estimated $7 million annually in trash collection and disposal costs.

— There are four times as many noncarbonated beverage containers in litter than beverage containers with deposits.

— Massachusetts community and nonprofit groups that raise funds by redeeming bottles and cans could see their proceeds increase by 40 percent.

— More than 75 percent of residents and nearly 200 communities favor updating the deposit law to include noncarbonated beverage containers, according to a MassINC survey.

Opponents claim an expanded bottle law would raise prices and impose a burden on retailers.

But Kimmell said his department conducted a survey of beverage prices at supermarkets, convenience stores and other retailers in several Northeast states, including Maine, which has a law that covers carbonated and noncarbonated containers.

"There is no evidence of significant cost increases as a result of bottle law updates in Maine and Connecticut," Kimmell said.

"Let's make a choice that will result in more jobs, less litter and greener communities for generations to come."

- 30 -

Updated Bottle Bill Campaign Puts Spotlight on Legislature

News Release
Thursday, September 22, 2011

Boston, MA – The Campaign for an Updated Bottle Bill announced today that they have now reached a majority of state legislators in support of an updated bottle bill. As a result, the coalition will press ahead with the pending legislative bill and forego the initiative petition process.

“Since filing the initiative petition with the Attorney General, more legislators have joined our effort providing a legislative majority. With a majority of legislators, and with respect for an open and democratic process ahead, we look forward to a vote on overwhelmingly popular and critical issue soon,” commented Janet Domenitz, spokesperson for the campaign and Executive Director of MASSPIRG.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming support of the public—a recent MassINC Polling Group showed 77% of the public in favor of the bill—as well as the support of municipal leaders from 200 cities and towns across the Commonwealth, including Boston’s Mayor Menino. On July 20, over 300 people trekked to a public hearing to support the bill in the State House. Given this mandate both inside and outside the State House, we now believe the best strategy to update the most successful recycling program in the state is in the legislature,” said James McCaffrey, Director of Sierra Club of Massachusetts.

On August 3, supporters of the Updated Bottle Bill, H890/S1650, a bill which would add water, juice, and similar containers to the existing container deposit law, filed an initiative petition with the Attorney General’s office to preserve the option of putting the proposed law to the voters in November 2012. That petition was certified by the Attorney General earlier this month and provided the additional momentum inside the legislature.

“This is a win, win, win proposal,” commented Rep. Alice Wolf, chief House sponsor of the bill. “This bill will reduce litter, increase recycling, and save cities and towns money in disposal and litter pick-up. I know many members of the House and Senate want these wins, and I know Governor Patrick wants to see this bill on his desk as soon as possible.”

The updating of the bottle bill has the strong support of the Patrick administration. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Ken Kimmell added, "Every year across Massachusetts, more than 30,000 tons of noncarbonated beverage bottles are buried in landfills, burned in waste-to-energy plants, or tossed onto our streets, parks and beaches. That's enough plastic bottles to fill Fenway Park ... five times. "

The legislative committee charged with considering the bill, co-chaired by Rep. John Keenan of Salem and Sen. Ben Downing of Pittsfield, held a hearing on July 20. The bill is awaiting action from their Committee.

# # #

Thursday, September 15, 2011

LETTER: Industry concerns about bottle bill are flawed

Letter to the Editor by Raymond A. Jussaume, Somerset
Published Aug 26, 2011

On Aug. 17, The Herald News printed a guest opinion by Chris Flynn, president of the Massachusetts Food Association, in which he opposed the expanded bottle bill. I wish to respond.

Mr. Flynn writes that we should work harder to educate residents on best recycling practices, expand curbside recycling, and make it easier to recycle in public places. He is absolutely right. But there is no reason why these suggestions should not be acted on, along with enacting an expanded bottle bill. The bottle bill provides a motivation for recycling, missing from the above suggestions.

Mr. Flynn states that the proposed legislation “would actually interfere with successful recycling programs,” but he does not say how. The five cent deposit on aluminum cans caused no such interference, so why should a similar deposit on bottles?

Then there is the question of increased cost to consumers. Mr. Flynn worries that families are struggling to keep costs down, and says that “now is not the time to burden them with a new tax.” But no new tax is proposed, merely a redeemable deposit. The price of bottled water, iced tea, juices and sports drinks is not likely to go out of sight.

Then there is concern for increased costs to business. Mr. Flynn writes that in New York, their bottle redemption law led to plant closures in the industry, and resulted in lost jobs.

We are not told what plants closed, and therefore cannot verify that the closures were in fact due to the bottle law. But obviously not all New York plants were so affected. Nor does Mr. Flynn report closings in Maine or Connecticut, which require deposits. Also, we know that there are small breweries operating in Massachusetts, which don’t appear to suffer from the deposit on aluminum cans.

Mr. Flynn’s piece did not bring up the matter of cost to cities and towns, but soon Mt. Trashmore will reach capacity, and what will be done with municipal waste then? No new incinerators will be built.  Disposal of waste will cost a lot more, and that cost will be paid by the taxpayers. Any reduction of that cost should be desirable.

Finally, Mr. Flynn insists that there would be “no meaningful environmental benefits” resulting from adoption of an expanded bottle bill. This is terribly wrong. It’s for the sake of our environment that we should favor the bill.

It would be better for our environment if we did away with the deposit on aluminum cans, and implemented it on plastic bottles alone. Aluminum is a valuable metal, and could be recovered from the ashes of incinerators, and even from landfills.

But when plastic bottles are burned, it adds to the toxic gases released into the air. The poisons that go up in smoke do not disappear, but are washed out by the rain to bring harm to all life on earth. Even if we don’t believe at all in global warming and climate change, we have to agree that plastic bottles must be recycled.

Mr. Flynn notes that bottles “make up only a narrow portion of the waste stream.” That is true. But the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection reports that 30,000 tons of beverage bottles are discarded annually in our state. That’s 60 million pounds going to incinerators and landfills every year.

Bottles make up small percentage of municipal waste. But that small percentage should be eliminated by passing the expanded bottle bill.

Raymond A. Jussaume

Read more:

Republished by permission.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bottle Bill Advocates Preserve Ballot Option; File Initiative

Statement by the Coalition to Update the Massachusetts Bottle Bill

August 3, 2011

The advocates working to update the Massachusetts Bottle Bill filed a ballot initiative today in order to preserve the option of going to the ballot.

While we hope the legislature will do the right thing and update the bottle bill, we are preserving the option today of taking this issue to the voters as a ballot question in the 2012 election. According to a recent poll, 77% of Massachusetts residents support an update of the bottle bill. It is long overdue. The bottle bill is a proven success. It has successfully reduced litter in our parks, beaches and roadways. It has increased our recycling and it has reduced the cost of waste disposal for taxpayers in our cities and towns. Over 200 cities and towns in the Commonwealth support the update. Many legislators, businesses and civic leaders support the update; including Governor Deval Patrick, Governor Michael Dukakis, Mayor Thomas Menino, State Senator Robert Hedlund, state Representative Dan Winslow, Roger Berkowitz of Legal Seafoods, the League of Women Voters, and many more. The proposed update of the bottle bill merely adds water, juice and energy drink bottles to the beer and soda bottles and cans we already collect. It only makes sense.

For those who mistakenly argue the bottle bill is a tax, even the Mass Taxpayers Foundation disagrees. No one needs to pay a penny, if they redeem their bottles and cans.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Environmental Agency's Report Praises Bottle Bill Update

Dept. of Environmental Protection Report Debunks Industry Claims

The Department of Environmental Protection has just released a sweeping report that undermines industry claims of future price increases if the current proposal to update the Bottle Bill is enacted. The report includes a survey of neighboring states and the impacts of bottle bill updates.

The Bottle Bill, or Container Deposit Law, enacted in 1982, places a 5 cent deposit on carbonated beverages. It doesn’t cover water, juices, teas, and sports drinks, because those beverages were not popular in the early 1980’s. A large coalition of 90 organizations is pushing to update the law to include these containers. At a recent State House hearing on the update bill, representatives of the MA Redemption Coalition, proponents of the update, brought two beverage containers of the exact same brand, size and shape. They showcased the fact that while one was carbonated juice and the other plain juice, there was otherwise no difference whatsoever—except that the latter isn’t covered by the deposit law. “It’s common sense to update this successful law and make it current with today’s market,” said Janet Domenitz of MASSPIRG, a proponent of the bill. “Even Fenway Park has a new scoreboard—everything needs an update now and then.” Bottlers and supermarket chains have been arguing against the update, making claims that are, with the DEP report, now disproven.

“Many claims have been made to suggest an updated bottle deposit law will cause Massachusetts to suffer,” per the report. “However, these claims about the negative impact of updating the law need to be examined to insure that a balanced and fair discussion can ensue.”

The report reviewed beverage prices in markets throughout Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. Maine updated their bottle bill 20 years ago; New Hampshire has no bottle bill.

Although beverage bottlers have claimed that updating the beverage deposit law would increase beverage prices, the report found that prices were nearly identical in both Maine and New Hampshire. In many cases, prices in Maine were lower, despite their larger deposit system.

Other claims that were brought into question were that beverage choices would diminish. The DEP report showed that the variety of beverages was entirely dependent on store size, and no measurable difference in consumer choice was detected.

Beverage bottlers had also warned that the “reverse vending machines” (automated redemption machines) would need to be replaced and expanded, but a study of the expansion in New York disproved this claim. “Our review suggests that an updated bottle bill that excludes bottles larger than 3 liters and juice bottles of all sizes could be easily implemented in Massachusetts stores with the existing infrastructure,’’ said the report.

Last week, a hearing in the State House on the proposed bottle bill drew close to 300 supporters, including civic and environmental groups, garden clubs, redemption center owners, mayors, and more. At one point, dozens of supportive legislators filed into the room to show their support. “It was like a legislative flash mob; I’ve never seen anything like it at a hearing,” remarked James McCaffrey, Director of the Mass Sierra Club and a key supporter of the update.

The new proposal is also being supported by many convenience stores throughout the state, as it allows small stores to be exempted from redeeming empties. Representative Alice Wolf (D-Cambridge), the chief House sponsor of the bill, stated that “We have dealt with issues for small businesses, and mom and pop stores won’t have to collect bottles anymore. This will be a good vote for legislators.’’


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bottle Bill Hearing Date Set for July 20

Help Pass the Bottle Bill Update!

The Bottle Bill is the State's most successful recycling and litter prevention program. Since the Bottle Bill's inception 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 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. Nearly 200 cities and towns - in every corner of the state - have passed resolutions in support of the Bottle Bill update.

Come to the State House to Show Your Support: Gather at the State House, Beacon Street side Wed. July 20, 2011, 9am, and show legislators our support!

Come to the Hearing: Wed. July 20, 2011, 10am, State House, Gardiner Auditorium.

Contact your State Representative and State Senator: Ask them to Support the Updated Bottle Bill H890/S1650, sponsored by Rep. Wolf/Sen. Creem. Click here to contact them

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

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mayor Menino Announces Local Support for Closing the Bottle Bill Loophole

News Release from the City of Boston, Massachusetts
Office of the Mayor Thomas M. Menino

Boston and 182 other Massachusetts cities and towns support bill expansion that would save municipalities up to $6.5 million annually.

Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined State Senator Cynthia Creem, State Representative Alice Wolf, Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, and statewide recycling advocates to announce that a majority of cities and towns in Massachusetts have passed resolutions in support of the updated Bottle Bill. This legislation would close a major loophole in the existing law expanding the definition of beverage containers to include water bottles, sports drinks, and other beverages in order to encourage recycling and reduce litter.

“The expanded bottle bill is good for our neighborhoods, good for our environment, and good for our pocket book,” Mayor Menino said. “These containers litter our streets, business districts and parks, and this legislation gives us a real opportunity to prevent litter while saving important resources.”

The public’s consumption of these beverages has grown significantly since the Bottle Bill was originally enacted in 1982. Today, over 3 billion containers are used in the Commonwealth every year with about one-third not recycled due to the loophole in the legislation. With the current redemption rate at nearly 70 percent, the Bottle Bill has proven to be a recycling success. However, only soda and beer containers are eligible for redemption under the current law.

“As times have changed and the way people consume drinks has changed, it really makes sense to update the Bottle Bill,” said Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. “Including more containers in the law will give consumers an extra incentive to recycle.”

“Our cities and towns know the importance of updating the bottle bill,” said Senator Cynthia Creem. “The public continues its strong support, and I hope the legislature will move swiftly now to enact this bill.”

Boston pays approximately $79-per-ton to dispose of residential solid waste, but an updated Bottle Bill would increase containers eligible for redemption by 33 percent. This increase would result in 3,000 tons of additional beverage containers collected per year, saving Boston taxpayers over a half million dollars per year in maintenance, collection, and disposal costs. Statewide, the Department of Environmental Protection estimates that an updated Bottle Bill will save cities and towns between $3.7 and $6.5 million every year in avoided collection, disposal and recycling costs.


Statement of Janet Domenitz, Executive Director, MASSPIRG

“We are grateful for Mayor Menino’s leadership in promoting the common-sense, win-win legislation to update the Bottle Bill. A recent poll shows that 77% of the public supports this bill. In addition, 81 of the 200 legislators signed on as cosponsors this session, and as of today 183 of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts have passed resolutions urging passage of the bill. It all adds up---the time is now for the state Legislature to pass this bill, which will reduce litter, increase recycling, and save cities and towns money in clean-up and disposal costs.”

Statement by James McCaffrey, Director, Massachusetts Sierra Club

“This bill is about litter, waste, our environment, and support and financial relief for our cities and towns. If the bottle bill update is enacted, nearly a billion more bottles will be recycled, savings thousands of barrels of oil, and saving our municipalities millions in litter collection and disposal fees,” said McCaffrey. “With the increasing financial pressures that face our cities and towns, passing this legislation will enable them to maintain cleaner streets and parks without needing to spend additional funds.”


Monday, March 7, 2011

DEP: Bottle Bill is a Proven Way to Increase Recycling

Saturday, March 5, 2011

At the Mass. Association of Conservation Commissions Annual Conference at Holy Cross College Worcester, Ken Kimmell, Commissioner of DEP in his keynote address called upon the assembled 700 Conservation Commissioners and interested conservationists to help DEP promote and pass the Expanded Bottle Bill. Saying it was a proven way to increase recycling, promote a cleaner environment from less litter and less waste, and noting that recycling reduces municipal budgets, the Commissioner asked for direct assistance in working with DEP to see that the bottle bill is expanded to water and non-carbonated beverage containers.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

81 Legislators Sign on to Updated Bottle Bill!

The legislators below have sponsored/cosponsored one of the Bottle Bill Updates of 2011:

Sen. Chang-Diaz Sen. Creem (Lead Senate Sponsor) Sen. Clark Sen. DiDomenico Sen. Donnelly Sen. Eldridge Sen. Fargo Sen. Jehlen Sen. Keenan Sen. Kennedy Sen. Petruccelli Sen. Ross Sen. Rush Sen. Spilka Sen. Timilty Sen. Wolf Rep Alicea Rep Andrews Rep Ashe Rep Atkins Rep Balser Rep Basile Rep Benson Rep Brodeur Rep Brownsberger Rep Calter Rep Canavan Rep Cariddi Rep Coakley-Rivera Rep Conroy Rep Coppinger Rep Creedon Rep Dykema Rep Ehrlich Rep Fernandes Rep Fresolo Rep Fox Rep Garballey Rep Garlick Rep Hecht Rep Henriquez Rep Hogan Rep Kaufman Rep Khan Rep Kocot Rep Koczera Rep Kulik Rep Lewis Rep Linsky Rep Madden Rep Malia Rep Mark Rep McMurtry Rep Nyman Rep O’Connell Rep O’Day Rep Peake Rep Peisch Rep Pignatelli Rep Provost Rep Ross Rep Rushing Rep Sanchez Rep Sannicandro Rep Scibak Rep Sciortino Rep Smith Rep Smizik Rep Speliotis Rep Speranzo Rep Straus Rep Stanley (Harriett) Rep Stanley (Thomas) Rep Story Rep Swan Rep Timilty Rep Toomey Rep Turner Rep Vallee Rep Walz Rep Walsh Rep Winslow Rep Wolf (Lead House Sponsor)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A chance to make an effective law even better

Appeared in the Boston Globe
February 11, 2011

As the House sponsor of An Act Updating the Bottle Bill, I appreciate the Globe’s Feb. 4 editorial supporting the measure. In light of the Feb. 9 letter in opposition to the bill (“Bottle bill is an expensive, ineffectual law’’), I think it is important to make clear that the bill would improve a very effective, decades-old law.

The deposit system has been the state’s most successful recycling program since its inception in 1983. However, consumer tastes have changed, and bottled water and sports drink containers are filling our parks, rivers, and landfills.

Additionally, with the update, municipalities would save an estimated $4 million to $7 million in litter disposal costs, small businesses could apply for an exemption from receiving returned bottles, and redemption centers would stay in business, saving jobs.

This is not a controversial or partisan issue. According to a recent MassINC poll, 78 percent of registered Democrats and 71 percent of registered Republicans support the update.

Special interests call this bill a “tax’’ because they know that is the third rail of politics now. A deposit, which is fully refundable, is not a tax.

Alice K. Wolf
State representative
Democrat of Cambridge

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Letter to the Editor: What is taking the Legislature so long?

February 11, 2011

Regardingthe Globe’s Feb. 4 editorial “Bottle bill: Fighting litter is reason enough,’’ we say whatever the reason for supporting or opposing the bill, it’s time for the Legislature to bring it to the floor for a vote. The bill has been pending for 14 years. Imagine 14 years of snow days. That’s what it has been like for the updated bottle bill. It is stuck inside Beacon Hill, buried, with lawmakers unwilling or unable to dig it out.

With a recent MassINC Polling Group poll showing that 77 percent of the public supports updating the bottle bill — by putting a 5 cent deposit on water bottles, sports drinks, and similar beverages that now end up as trash and litter — the time is overdue for giving this bill a chance to be debated by the House and Senate.

Although some may oppose updating the bottle bill, the reality is that it saves cities and towns money in trash cleanup, increases recycling, and reduces litter. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. But there is absolutely no reason for the Legislature not to vote on this.

Janet Domenitz, Executive director, MassPIRG
Jack Clarke, Director of public policy and government relations, Mass Audubon

Updated Bottle Bill Coalition lauds Governor’s FY12 Budget

Jan 27, 2011

Included in Governor Deval Patrick’s just-released FY12 Budget for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a provision that would decrease litter, increase recycling, and generate revenue: an update of the state’s bottle bill. The provision would expand the 30 year old 5 cent deposit on some soft drinks and other beverages to include water bottles, sports drinks, teas and other drinks. The Coalition for an Updated Bottle Bill cheered the Governor’s move, and called for the provision’s immediate passage.

“Updating the bottle bill makes sense for all the right reasons: it reduces trash hazards in the environment, will provide added revenue to state conservation programs, and will return more money to cities and towns for recycling programs,” commented Jack Clarke, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for Mass Audubon, which analyzes the environmental priorities in the state budget each year.

While Governor Patrick supported the update in his first term, there is a ‘stepped up’ effort now, according to the Secretary of Energy and the Environment, Rick Sullivan. In addition, a recently released poll conducted by the MassInc Polling Group showed that 77% of the public supports the update. “It’s basically been more than 12 years of snow days for the Updated Bottle Bill,” remarked Janet Domenitz of MASSPIRG. “The bill has been buried in the Legislature for far too long, and there’s simply no reason to delay any longer.”

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New Poll Shows Strong Support for Bottle Bill Update

Jan 23, 2011

A recently conducted poll shows that a vast majority of Massachusetts residents support pending legislation to update the state's Bottle Bill, the 5c deposit on some beverage containers which has been in effect since 1983. According to a poll conducted in January by The MassINC Polling Group, 77 percent of the public wants to see additional containers---like water bottles, sports drinks, iced teas, and fruit juices---include the 5c deposit.

"This poll provides the science to what we've known from our experience all along, that the Bottle Bill is popular. We need to pass the law to update it, which will result in a win/win/win for Massachusetts---cleaning up litter, increasing recycling, and saving cities and towns money from disposal costs," declared Representative Alice Wolf, who, along with Senator Cynthia Creem, has championed the bill in the Legislature. "It's been clear to me for ages that my district wholeheartedly supports the bill, and I believe this poll will help persuade legislators to enact this update in 2011," remarked Senator Creem.

Included in the poll's statistics:

- 77% of Massachusetts residents support updating the bottle bill
- support for updating the bill is similar between parties, with 78% of registered Democrats and 71% of registered Republicans supporting the update
- support for the Bottle Bill update crosses gender, party, and geographic lines.

"There's simply no reason to delay this bill any longer," exhorted Janet Domenitz, the Executive Director of MASSPIRG, which pushed for the original Bottle Bill and has been campaigning for its update. "What better New Year's Resolution for the Legislature than to pass this and get it to the Governor's desk now? Governor Patrick is eager to sign this measure into law. "

The bill to update the current law has been pending in the Legislature for over a decade. The current Bottle Bill covers only carbonated beverages; the update would expand the types of containers to include water, sports drinks, iced teas and the like.

Supporters represent a broad range, among others: the Sierra Club, Mass Audubon Society, the Charles River Conservancy, Environmental League of MA, Mass Recycle; as well as the League of Women Voters, the Mass Municipal Association, the Mass Redemption Coalition, the Mass League of Environmental Voters, and the Surfrider Foundation. Mayor Tom Menino and Governor Deval Patrick have been ardent supporters, and Congressman Ed Markey has filed a Bottle Bill in Congress. "While we represent the environmental constituency, it's clear from our coalition that this bill is an environmental protection bill, plus. It saves money, it promotes corporate responsibility, and we now know its public appeal is overwhelming," said James McCaffrey, director of the Sierra Club of MA.

"This is already an early priority for ranking legislators in our 2011-2012 Environmental Scorecard," added Lora Wondolowski, Executive Director of the Mass League of Environmental Voters.

These results are based on a MassINC Polling Group statewide poll conducted January 5-8, 2011 among 400 Massachusetts residents, including 342 registered voters. Live telephone interviews were conducted via both landline and cell phone. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish by Eastern Research Services. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.9 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.

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