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.

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See full list of supporting municipalities.

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