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The public’s consumption of these beverages has grown significantly since the Bottle Bill was originally enacted in 1982.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.”