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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