For more than a decade, efforts have been made each year to expand the Bottle Bill to include water, sports drink, tea and other non-carbonated beverage containers because the existing law has not kept pace with people's beverage consumption habits.
Established in 1983, the Bottle Bill focused on reducing litter and increasing the recycling of containers from the most common beverages of the day - beer and soda - by adding a redeemable nickel deposit to each bottle and can sold. For three decades, it has been a resounding success, with more than 75 percent of deposit beverage containers recycled in Massachusetts.
But it is time to extend the deposit system to include the many types of beverage containers that were far less common in 1983. Here are five reasons why:
- More recycling.
More than 1.5 billion water and non-carbonated beverages are sold in Massachusetts each year - about 40 percent of all beverage sales - but only 25 percent of the containers they come in get recycled. The rest end up as litter, buried in landfills or burned in solid waste incinerators. If the Bottle Bill is expanded, recycling of these containers will triple.
- Cleaner parks, beaches and highways.
Litter collection studies consistently show that water and non-carbonated beverage containers are up to four times as likely to become litter as beverage containers with deposits are.
- Saves municipalities money.
By cutting down on litter, recycling more and throwing away less, Massachusetts towns and cities save money on trash collection and disposal. A recent study estimated that, collectively, Massachusetts municipalities would save nearly $7 million annually through an expanded Bottle Bill.
- Residents want it.
A recent poll by MassINC made it clear that support for expanding the Bottle Deposit Law is unprecedented, with more than 75 percent of residents in favor of expanding the law to water and non-carbonated beverages. In addition, city councils and boards of selectmen from more than 160 communities have gone on record as being in favor of an expanded Bottle Bill.
- Creates jobs.
Recycling more beverage containers means more jobs. Some 14,000 people are currently employed by the recycling industry in Massachusetts, collecting, processing and manufacturing material that once was trash.
It's simple. Expanding the Bottle Bill makes sense. New York, Connecticut and Maine have already successfully expanded their bottle and can deposit laws. Isn't it about time that Massachusetts did the same?
Learn more about the proposed Bottle Bill expansion and how Massachusetts towns and cities would benefit: