Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Claims of Delusion

by Phil Sego, Massachusetts Sierra Club

Like many of the proponents who are working on the bottle bill, I've been making presentations before various groups and organizations. Some of us, including myself, have been meeting the opposition toe-to-toe in formal televised debates.

I've never considered myself a debater. I am passionate about the bottle bill, and angered by the misstatements and fabrications by our opponents. I try to focus on the issues, but some times, the constant stream of disinformation makes me wonder, "Do these people actually think anyone believes them?" Sadly, many people do.

These are just a few of the more common fabrications by our opponents:

"Prices will go up $20 million (or sometimes 40, 60, and 140 million)"

The number seems to be going up every day. In just one hour, while I was participating in a debate yesterday, the number jumped from 60 to 68. But a month ago, it was 140.

The FACT is that every time that any state tries to update or pass a bottle bill, the Big Beverage companies threaten a price increase -- and they've been doing this for over 30 years, In fact, they said the same thing here in 1982 when we enacted our bottle bill. A year later, the VP of Coca-Cola Donald Dowd admitted that it was a lie.

The TRUTH is that when Maine, Connecticut, California, Oregon, and New York updated their bottle bills, the bottlers also threatened massive increases. None of these threats ever materialized.

To get to the truth, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) studied beverage costs in New England, They found that costs were actually higher in NH – which has no Bottle bill.  Maine, which has the most comprehensive bottle bill, had the lowest costs. So much for the scare tactics and threats from Big Beverage.

The bottlers have been caught repeatedly in this game of "scare the consumer." They've been caught falsifying data repeatedly by investigative reporters. The 20-40-100 million threat is just another example of making claims to scare and mislead voters. The fact is that they've lost all credibility.

Phil Sego is an Environmental Advocate at the Massachusetts Sierra Club

Monday, October 20, 2014

LTE 10/16: Vote Yes On 2

From The Concord Journal 
Vote yes on 2
On Election Day, Nov. 4, we will have a chance to bring the current bottle deposit law into the 21st century by voting yes on ballot question 2. The current bottle bill dates from 1982, when many beverages such as sports drinks, juices, water and teas were not sold in bottles.
Non-deposit bottles outnumber deposit bottles three to one in the litter found along streets and in public parks, and are not recycled at curbside. It is estimated that the Expanded Bottle Bill will save cities and towns approximately $6.7 million a year in litter pick up and trash disposal costs. That’s why 209 cities and towns, including Concord, have passed resolutions supporting an updated bottle bill.
The opponents of Vote Yes on 2 are spending millions of dollars to try to defeat this rather mild expansion of an existing bottled that asks that more beverage containers have a refundable deposit at point of purchase. A “yes” vote will decrease litter on our roadsides, at sport events, in parks and trails and wherever people gather.
The state legislature has refused to pass an updated bottle bill for years. Now there is a choice for voters to make on Nov. 4. Please vote yes on Question 2.
— Ardis Bordman, Monument Street

10/15: Mass. should bring bottle bill into 21st century

From Suffolk Journal
Mass. should bring bottle bill into 21st century
By Ian Kea
It’s about time.
Thirty years after the Massachusetts bottle bill was first passed, it now has a chance to be updated on the ballot come Nov. 4, and voters should vote yes on Question 2, the expansion of the bottle bill.
According to, Massachusetts is one of 10 states to have a bottle deposit system in place. But, the state’s bottle deposit system does not currently accept mainstream beverages such as water, juice and sports drinks. Only carbonated beverages have a deposit. The updated bottle bill would include non-carbonated beverage bottles.
The current bottle bill works as followed; retailers, like Market Basket, for example, give distributors, who sell to the retailer for a profit, a 5 cent deposit for each can or bottle purchased. When the consumer purchases a beverage, they are paying that deposit back to the retailer. When they return the can or bottle to a retail store, redemption center, or reverse vending machine, they are refunded for their 5 cent deposit is refunded. Essentially, the bottle bill is an incentive for the consumer to recycle. The end result is more recyclable materials, less waste is produced, more money is saved, and more help to eliminate the world’s carbon footprint.
Opponents of the bill, such as Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker and Coca-Cola, have argued that curbside recycling is already enough. Yet 80 percent of bottles attached with a deposit are recycled, compared to 23 percent of bottles without a deposit attached, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. All unclaimed deposits would be given back to the state for environmental protection measures, saving taxpayers a small chunk of change come April.
Opponents of the bottle bill have also said it is a waste of taxpayer money, but according to the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, individual cities and towns can save approximately $7 million annually in avoided waste, recycling and litter collection costs through an expanded bottle bill, making it a fiscally responsible choice.
Every year across the commonwealth, more than 30,000 tons of non-carbonated beverage bottles are buried in landfills, burned, or littered throughout Massachusetts’ streets, parks, and beaches. According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Sector of Waste and Recycling, that’s enough bottles to fill Fenway Park from the press box to the green monster five times.
For the 10 percent of Massachusetts residents who do not have curbside recycling, this expanded bottle bill not only gives an incentive, but also gives many consumers a new opportunity to recycle.
Massachusetts, according to, is the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient state in the country. The expanded and updated bottle bill would not only create a new standard for recycling in Massachusetts, but the nation as well.
Over the past decade, 210 towns in the commonwealth have passed measures supporting a new updated bottle bill, according to the Yes on 2 Coalition. Now it is voters’ turn to vote yes on Question 2, to save money, reduce litter, become more energy efficient, as well as create a new national standard for recycling.

10/16: Vote yes on the bottle bill this Nov.

From Tufts Daily

Vote yes on the bottle bill this Nov.

This November, Massachusetts voters will have an important opportunity to reduce litter and further their state’s commitment to recycling through a ballot referendum. Question 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot — also known as the bottle bill – would expand the state’s beverage container deposit law.Massachusetts voters should be informed about the effects of Question 2 and we urge you to vote in favor of it. A yes vote will expand deposits to containers not currently included under the law — nonalcoholic, non-carbonated drinks. The proposal also includes a provision requiring the state to adjust the container deposit amount every five years to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index. Future deposit rates could not be set below five cents if passed.
Conservation and community groups have lobbied for years for the expansion of the bottle bill to include plastic bottles of non-carbonated beverages. Supporters of Question 2 argue that the existing bottle bill is not expansive enough. Statistics show that while 80 percent of beer and soda containers get recycled, only 23 percent of nondeposit containers do. Although opponents of the bill argue that the price hike will be costly to consumers, the solution is simple: Consumers can get back their five cents if they recycle the bottle. The money leftover from consumers who do not collect their deposit would enter a re-established Clean Environment Fund to be used for cleaning up parks and other environmental projects in the state. Expanding this law would not only increase recycling and decrease the amount of recyclable items in landfills, but, according to the Coalition for an Updated Bottle Bill, could also save up to $7 million annually for municipalities by reducing costs of trash removal.
While a yes vote would expand the bottle bill effective April 22, 2015, a vote against Question 2 this November would leave the law as it currently is. Opponents of the bill argue that the proposal wastes taxpayer dollars to expand an outdated system and instead, Massachusetts should seek other methods to increase recycling. An alternative plan was proposed to repeal the bottle bill entirely, but research from the Sierra Club Massachusetts determined that this plan would result in significant job loss as well as a reduced recycling rate.
Local communities along with groups such as Mass Audubon Society and the Merrimack River Watershed Council have voiced support for Question 2. On Nov. 4 voters will get a chance to speak up as well. If you plan to vote on Nov. 4, don’t ignore the ballot initiatives like the bottle bill. Instead, voice your support for a cleaner environment by voting in support of the referendum.

10/15: How to Cap Plastic Bottle Waste

From Good Magazine
By: Angie Schmitt
In the United States alone, 1,500 plastic bottles of water are consumed every second. Every hour, Americans throw away, on average, about 2.5 million plastic bottles of all types. If we include all cans and bottles—soda, teas, energy drinks, beer—about 224 billion beverage containers are tossed out every year, adding up to literal mountains of trash.
Though recently plastic bags have been a hot topic and the focus of environmental campaigns in states like California, plastic bottles are also a major offender, contributing significantly to the almost 32 million tons of plastic that ends up in landfills every year. Only about 23 percent of plastic bottles are ever recycled, in part because they’re often consumed on the go. Because these bottles take from 450 to almost 1,000 years to biodegrade, each year, the pile grows larger. Every single piece of plastic ever produced still exists somewhere.
And the waste—as bafflingly enormous as it is—only accounts for part of the problem. Plastic bottles are also extremely energy intensive to produce. Fill up a plastic bottle about a quarter of the way—that’s about how much oil it takes just to produce the package. Just supplying Americans with plastic bottles consumes 15 to 17 million barrels of oil annually—enough for 100,000 cars. And that doesn’t even include the energy consumed by hauling them around in heavy trucks.
Though nobody’s seriously flirting with an outright ban, plastic bottles lend themselves to an elegant policy trick that can greatly reduce the environmental impact of all that guzzling. You might even have it where you live: It’s called a bottle bill.
Bottle bills require beverage retailers to collect a five-cent (or more) deposit on every recyclable bottle sold. The deposit is returned to the consumer when they return the bottle. Ten states, including California, Michigan and Massachusetts, currently have bottle bills in place.
Adding that tiny deposit—that little system of reward for those who consume responsibly—can have an enormous environmental impact. States with bottle bills recycle beverage containers at almost three times the rate of states that do not. In Michigan, which has the highest deposit rate in the nation (10 cents), the bottle bill has been credited with reducing total waste 6 to 8 percent a year.
“What’s true is that the bottle bill is the most effective program ever devised to prevent litter and increase recycling,” wrote Phil Sego of the Massachusetts Sierra Club recently in The Huffington Post.
Sego is part of a coalition in Massachusetts fighting to update bottle laws that predate new types of drink containers, mainly from non-carbonated juices, or soft drinks like Gatorade.
Updating the bottle law, he says, would save the state’s taxpayers $7 million annually in waste management costs and prevent an additional 1.25 billion bottles from ending up in landfills—that’s enough to fill Fenway Park every year.
The power of bottle bills is how it shifts the costs and responsibilities associated with beverage bottles from municipalities to producers and consumers. Just a small monetary deposit can dramatically change the equation.
But the most dramatic impact of these bills is the extent to which they curb littering. In total, about 2 billion beverage containers a year are discarded in open or public places, according to the Container Recycling Institute. These bottles end up strewn about our streets and public places, from highway embankments to parks. Some of those will even eventually make it to the Great Pacific Garbage PatchStudies have shown these bills reduce bottle litter by as much as 84 percent and overall litter by close to two-thirds.
Unfortunately, environmentalists promoting bottle bills face an uphill battle against big beverage. Multinational firms like Coke and Pepsi have little interest in recycling or local quality of life and have billions to spend on opposing bottle bills. In Massachusetts, beverage companies have already spent $8 million just fighting the minor update in the state legislature. That’s compared to a mere $600,000 raised by the environmental coalition promoting the bill. Environmental advocates will also ask Ohio voters to approve a totally new bottle bill in November. They’ll face long odds, but if they succeed, the benefits for the state could be enormous.
Illustrations by Josh Covarrubias

LTE 10/10: Sixth Grader: Yes on bottle bill is a vote for the next generation

From the Lowell Sun
I'm not old enough to vote, but this is what my sixth-grade class wants in their future. Don't make us wait until we are old enough to take action ourselves. Take action now.
The present bottle bill is good, but our plan for the future is better. The present bottle bill requires containers of carbonated beverages to be returnable for five cents. It doesn't cover containers of noncarbonated beverages like water, tea, or sports drinks.
The new bottle bill that people will vote for will help us use less plastic. There will be less money for trash service from the city. It helps us make a cleaner environment, such as cleaner highways and nonpolluted oceans.
If you start recycling and refunding bottles and paper, they can turn into reliable resources people may need in the future.
Please vote for the bottle bill.

Read more:

LTE 10/10: Vote yes on bottle bill question

From The Jamaica Plain Gazette

Given all the controversial issues facing us in the coming election, there is one issue that should be, in the common parlance, a “no-brainer:” a yes vote on Question 2, the Bottle Bill.
The bill would revise the existing one to include bottled water, tea, sports drinks and other beverages, which now most often end up in our city drains, parks and nature centers. We should know. Boston Nature Center volunteers and staff spend countless hours picking up these bottles that have floated down drain pipes and ended up in Canterbury Brook and on the banks of its tributaries. Question 2 would reduce this litter and increase recycling rates.
Currently, even with curbside collection for these kinds of bottles in half our cities and towns, only 23 percent of bottles without deposits are recycled, compared with 80 percent of redeemable bottles.
When the first bottle bill was passed, sports drinks and bottled water were not the popular drinks that they are today. We need to update the bottle bill, so that we can keep our parks, rivers and nature centers clean, and save money in the process. It is indeed a no-brainer.
Julie Brandlen
Anne and Peter Brooke Director
Boston Nature Center
Editor’s Note: The writer is a JP resident.
- See more at:

10/9: Gov. Patrick says beverage industry associate told him bottle bill expansion would fail because 'we have more money than you'

From State House News Service

Gov. Deval Patrick supports a ballot question expanding the bottle deposit law to water and sports drinks, an idea he has repeatedly filed during his seven-plus years as governor, but which has never cleared the Legislature.
On Thursday, Patrick told a story during a WGBH radio interview that shed some light on the dynamics at work behind the proposal.
Before he became governor, Patrick worked for Coca-Cola. He said that when he filed his bottle bill proposal one year, an old colleague from his days in the industry, but not from Coca-Cola, called him and asked what he was up to.
Patrick said he told him, "I've done some homework. I understand it better."
The governor said the colleague laughed and predicted Patrick would not be successful with his proposal "because we have more money than you do."
Opponents of the ballot question, in a campaign fueled by bottling industry funding, have spent heavily on ads promoting additional consumer costs associated with an expanded bottle bill and touting curbside recycling as a better alternative. They came under fire on Thursday, however, when it was revealed they paid a Tufts professor $7,000 prior to that professor endorsing a study which was critical of the movement to expand deposits to include non-carbonated beverage containers in the commonwealth.
Recent polls show voters are leaning against Question 2, which is on the ballot Nov. 4.

10/10: Yes on 2 will boost recycling

Over 30 years ago, Massachusetts took a big step toward a cleaner environment and controlling litter when it put a five-cent refundable deposit on the most popular beverages at the time: soda and beer. That deposit system has been a huge success for over three decades — 80 percent of bottles and cans with a deposit are recycled, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Today, bottled water, sports drinks, iced teas, juices, and other on-the-go beverages are widely available and extremely popular. Just 23 percent of these bottles — bottles without a deposit — are recycled, even with the availability of curbside recycling.

Since these beverages are so often consumed away from home, the bottles wind up in the trash or littering our streets and parks, not in the home recycling bin.

We need to update the Bottle Bill — the most effective recycling tool we have — to cover water bottles and similar on-the-go drinks that weren't on the shelves 30 years ago, so that these beverage containers are recycled just as soda and beer containers are recycled.

When we vote yes to pass Question 2, over 1.25 billion more bottles will be diverted from landfills and will be recycled each year.

In addition to keeping more bottles out of our state's waterways, parks, and streets, Question 2 would establish the Clean Environment Fund, directly sending the unclaimed deposits into a dedicated fund to improve recycling, clean up parks, and fund other environmental projects.

Only a yes vote on Question 2 will remove unclaimed deposits from the commonwealth's general fund and put them into this fund for the environment.

Over 100 organizations, committees, businesses, and elected officials support updating the Bottle Bill, including the Environmental League of Massachusetts, League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, Rep. Mary Keefe (D-Worcester), Shrewsbury Recycles, and the West Boylston Solid Waste Advisory Team.

Corporations that make big profits from selling bottled water, sports drinks, and other similar products are spending millions in out-of-state money to persuade Massachusetts voters the Bottle Bill should not be updated.

Whenever you see empty bottles along I-290 or in Quinsigamond State Park, remember that big beverage companies have poured almost $8 million into Massachusetts to keep it that way. They are more concerned with protecting their profits than protecting our open spaces from litter.

Voting yes on Question 2 will also save cities and towns about $7 million a year now spent for litter collection, trash disposal, and storm drain cleaning. Worcester alone would save almost $200,000 annually. In fact, 209 cities and towns passed resolutions in support of the updated Bottle Bill knowing they would save money.

In his recent endorsement of a yes vote on Question 2, Gov. Patrick said it perfectly: "Yes on 2 will increase recycling, clean up our parks, and save cities and towns money."

The choice is simple: voting yes on Question 2 will save taxpayers money while keeping our beautiful state beautiful. Massachusetts voters who want less litter and more recycling will vote yes on Question 2 on Nov. 4.

Phil Sego is an environmental advocate at the Massachusetts Sierra Club, where he's worked for 12 years on environmental issues. He is also a member of the YES on 2 Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill. 

OPED 10/10: Unwarranted fears were spread about ’82 bottle bill too

From The Boston Globe

THE FIRST Massachusetts bottle bill, back in 1982, was attacked in the same way that Question 2 is now being attacked (“Ads with inaccurate data aid foes of wider bottle law,”Page A1, Oct. 3). It was said of the first bill that it would increase the cost of soda (it did not), that it wouldn’t really reduce litter (it did), and that it would cost the state money (it increased revenues).
We should not be fooled by the ads the bottling companies are airing.
We know that more than two-thirds of redeemable cans are recycled and only about a quarter of non-redeemable ones are.
We know that our parks and nature sanctuaries are filled with litter from these nonredeemable cans and bottles, such as tea, water, and sports drinks.
We know that many towns and cities don’t have curbside recycling.
Let’s pass Question 2.
Margaret Rhodes

OPED 10/10: At nature center, they’re sadly downstream of our recycling woes

From The Boston Globe
GIVEN ALL the controversial issues facing us in the coming election, there is one issue that should be a no-brainer: a yes vote on Question 2, the bottle bill. The bill would revise the existing one, to include bottled water, tea, sports drinks, and other beverages, which now often end up in our city drains, parks, and nature centers.
We should know. Volunteers and staff at Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center spend countless hours picking up bottles that have floated down storm drain pipes and ended up in Canterbury Brook and the banks of its tributaries. Question 2 would reduce this litter and increase recycling rates.
Currently, even with curbside collection for these kinds of bottles in about half of our cities and towns, only about 23 percent of bottles without deposits are recycled, compared with 80 percent of redeemable bottles.
When the first bottle bill was passed, in 1982, sports drinks and bottled water were not the popular drinks that they are today.
We need to update the bill so that we can keep our parks, rivers, and nature centers clean and save money in the process.
Julie Brandlen
Boston Nature Center


10/9: Professor cited as expert was paid by bottle-law opponents

  • From MetroWest Daily News

  • By Colleen Quinn
    State House News Service 

    Posted Oct. 9, 2014 @ 3:49 pm
    Updated Oct 9, 2014 at 4:01 PM 

    BOSTON -- A Tufts University professor recently cited by bottle bill expansion opponents for his endorsement of an independent study of the proposal's impact was paid $7,000 by the ballot committee fighting Question 2.
    Backers of the ballot question that would add a 5-cent deposit to water bottles, juices, and other drinks are questioning the credibility of the professor, who agreed with a study that concluded the proposal would cost Massachusetts residents nearly $100 million annually.
    Environmentalists from "Stop the Litter - Yes On 2" campaign allege that the professor was paid by opponents to agree with the study.
    Nicole Giambusso, a spokeswoman for the "No On Question 2 - Stop Forced Deposits," acknowledged that economics professor Jeffrey Zabel was compensated by the campaign for his work, and approached to look at the study because of his expertise in environmental economics.
    "When the campaign approached him, he said something to the effect of 'I'm going to do an objective analysis' " Giambusso said.
    According to state campaign finance records, Zabel was paid $7,000 for campaign services by Goddard Gunster Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs and advertising firm. Goddard Gunster was hired by the No On Question 2 campaign, according to Giambusso.
    Backers of a ballot question to expand the state's 5 cent deposit on carbonated beverages to other types of beverages say it will increase recycling. Opponents of the idea have citied cost concerns over the years as they prevented the proposal from moving through the Legislature.
    Environmentalists say bottles without deposits are thrown away or become litter, and communities bear the burden and costs of cleaning them up. Opponents argue the deposit is an outdated, inefficient method of encouraging recycling, and will cost more than curbside recycling. They say deposits are the wrong approach to boost recycling.
    The study by Northbridge Environmental Management Consultants estimated the cost of operating the expanded deposit program would be $68 million and estimated the state would collect an additional $27 million in unclaimed deposits.
    Opponents of the ballot question issued a press released last Thursday, a day after records show a payment was made to Zabel, highlighting his findings. "I've read Question 2, I've examined the research thoroughly, and I'm here to tell you: Question 2 might sound like a good idea initially, but a different story emerges when you delve into the economic and environmental costs and benefits," Zabel said in the release, which did not mention that Zabel was paid for his work.
    Janet Domenitz, executive director of MASSPIRG, said the No On Question 2 campaign has a credibility problem.
    First, the opponents' campaign said "something that was absolutely a lie" when they aired a television ad stating 90 percent of Massachusetts residents have curbside recycling, Domenitz said. Environmentalists dispute that statistic, and asked the no campaign to pull the ad from the airwaves. State environmental officials also agreed the statistic is too high, and the ad's sponsors recently amended the sourcing in the spot.
    • Now, Domenitz said, the campaign is trying to give credibility to the Northbridge study by highlighting the thoughts of an economics professor who was paid for his work by the ballot committee.
      "It turns out the professor has been paid by the American Beverage Association," Domenitz said, referring to the trade group that is helping financing the opposition campaign. "It is not Halloween yet, I don't know who they think they are trying to trick."
      Domenitz said voters need to know that 80 percent of the containers with the 5 cent deposit get recycled, while only 23 percent without the deposit get recycled.
      Zabel told the News Service that before he looked at the study, he believed the so-called bottle bill was a good policy. "But I was convinced otherwise after reading the report," he saidWednesday.
      "I went in with an objective viewpoint in terms of reviewing their analysis. I think that is the best way to go into these, and I came out with the view that the cost of the expanded bottle bill outweighed the benefits," he said.
      Zabel believes the proposal would likely only increase recycling by 1 percent.
      Zabel said he disagrees with the argument that his views are skewed because he was paid by opponents of the initiative petition. A professor at Tufts for 25 years, he said he has been hired by consulting firms to do peer reviews before, saying it is common practice. He has been paid to conduct research for the federal Environmental Protection Agency and to do peer review research for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
      "People get paid for things all the time. Does that mean they are not credible anymore? Most people get paid to do their jobs," Zabel said.
      Phil Sego, an environmental advocate for the Massachusetts Sierra Club, said the study's authors, Northbridge Environmental, lobby for the beverage industry. Sego called the proclamations by Zabel "ludicrous."
      "I think $7,000 can buy you all kinds of things," Sego said.
      Sego said opponents of the deposit try to scare consumers that if the deposit is added to more drinks, manufacturers will raise prices. In other states with deposits, such as Maine, Michigan and Hawaii, product prices did not go up, according to Sego.
      "This is a scare tactic that they use," Sego said. "Who are you going to trust, Coke, Pepsi and Nestle, or are you going to trust the League of Women Voters?"
      The Massachusetts League of Women Voters supports expanding the bottle deposit law, calling it the "most successful recycling measure in the history of the state," on its website.

9/25: Big money backs state anti-bottle-bill campaign

From The Boston Globe

Big money backs state anti-bottle-bill campaign

Another hefty infusion of cash from the American Beverage Association has increased the war chest of those seeking to block the expansion of the state’s bottle redemption law to nearly $8 million — more than quadruple the amount raised by any other ballot campaign.
The No on Question 2 committee, which has already released advertisements seeking to persuade voters to reject adding bottle deposits to water and sports drinks, this month received $2.3 million from the American Beverage Association as well as more than $100,000 from supermarket companies. Last month, the trade association for nonalcoholic drinks contributed more than $5.2 million to the campaign.
Supporters of the ballot question have raised just $525,000, most of which has come from the Massachusetts Sierra Club and other environmental groups. They said they so far lack enough money to buy TV ads.
“We’re in a busy election cycle and we want to reach as many voters as possible; that includes paid media, direct mail, and grass-roots outreach, among other efforts,” said Nicole Giambusso, a spokeswoman for the committee opposing the expansion of the bottle law.
But supporters of Question 2 — which would apply the 31-year-old nickel deposit that encourages recycling of soda, beer, and malt beverage containers to noncarbonated beverages — say the financial disparity reflects the interests supporting the opposition.
“With each new campaign finance filing, Massachusetts voters can see just how far big beverage companies are willing to go to keep our parks filled with litter from over a billion water bottles, sports drinks, and other beverage containers,” said Janet Domenitz, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group.
On Wednesday, Governor Deval Patrick endorsed Question 2.
— David Abel

PR 10/2: Big Beverage Companies Still Don't Get It

From Yes On 2

Big Beverage Companies Still Don’t Get It:
Lying to Voters In TV Ads Will Not Work

YES on 2 Will Reduce Litter, Increase Recycling and Save Cities and Towns Millions in Clean-Up Costs Despite Opponent’s Claims

(BOSTON)--The big beverage company opponents to the bottle bill, increasingly facing pressure because of the credibility problems in their TV ads, today revealed they are changing their ad—a minor change that still leaves the ad far short of any minimum level of credibility.

The “STOP Litter: YES on 2” campaign today blasted the continuing problems with the ad. The ad states that 90 percent of the state has access to easy, curbside recycling. According to state officials, that number is flatly wrong.

“In a new low even for them, the big, out of state beverage companies pouring millions of dollars into the airwaves have been caught lying to voters. After grassroots organizations filed a complaint with TV stations earlier this week citing FCC guidelines on credibility, the No on 2 campaign has apparently changed its TV ad, proven now to have contained incorrect and false information,” said Janet Domenitz, executive director of MASSPIRG and coalition member of YES on 2.   

“Sadly, for the voters, it seems the anti-clean environment folks are still trying to mislead even as they try to cover their tracks. The facts are a YES vote on 2 will increase our recycling, and get the littered bottles out of our parks and ball fields.

“No on 2 is a front for big bottlers and beverage companies, while Yes on 2 is a coalition that includes Sierra Club, Mass Audubon, League of Women Voters, mayors, park rangers,  small businesses, and more. Yes on 2 stands for less litter and more recycling. Big beverage companies ---the No on 2 crowd---don’t care about recycling or bottled water litter, they care about their own deep pockets,” Domenitz added.

OPED 10/16: Expanded Bottle Deposits Will Clean The Environment

From South Coast Today

Posted Oct. 16, 2014 @ 12:01 am 

In the last 50 years we have experienced a doubling of the world's population. Our planet is not getting smaller, but it is getting a bit more crowded.
We need to conserve our natural resources to leave a good environment for our children's children to grow up in. We can start by focusing on reducing the amount of waste in our landfills. By reducing the waste stream we can increase the life of our landfills.
A recent Standard-Times article heralded the doubling of our recycling rates due to the introduction of single-stream recycling in New Bedford and the use of larger bins to accommodate our recyclables. In addition, Dartmouth adopted a "pay as you throw" trash collection program. By doing this we have extended the use of the Crapo Hill landfill beyond its 20-year lifespan by more than 10 years.
We can continue to build on our successes for a cleaner environment by voting yes on Question 2, expanding the bottle bill. The current bottle deposit law results in a recycling rate of 80 percent on all bottle deposit containers. By expanding the bottle deposit law to include water, juice and sports drinks, we will increase our recycling rate of these bottles and greatly reduce litter on our streets.
The recycling rate on non-deposit containers is only 23 percent. Curbside recycling of these containers is not working as well as a bottle deposit would.
The facts are clear: The beverage industry not only produces the drink but they have found a very inexpensive way to bottle their beverages. These bottles are not biodegradable. We must recycle and reuse these containers. We as a society cannot afford to throw them away. While these containers may be cheap for the industry to produce they are not cheap for us consumers to discard.
The beverage industry is spending heavily to defeat Question 2. It is for us the people to keep our communities clean and to leave a healthy environment for those who follow us. Don't be swayed by a high-priced advertising campaign that will end up costing us taxpayers more in waste management costs.
The bottle deposit law works. It works for us and for our future. That is why we need to expand our bottle deposit law to increase recycling of these containers. We need to reuse and conserve our resources so they will continue to be there for us and our children and our children's children.
So vote for a cleaner environment. Vote to prevent litter in our streets. Vote to recycle, reuse and conserve.
Vote yes on Question 2.