Massachusetts

The following text was found at http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/94-321.htm

Massachusetts General Laws, Part 1, Title XV, Chapter 94, Section 321

Beverage Container Law

Chapter 94: Section 321. Definitions

Section 321. In sections three hundred and twenty-one to three hundred and twenty-seven, inclusive, the following definitions shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meaning:

“Beverage”, soda water or similar carbonated soft drinks, mineral water, and beer and other malt beverages, but shall not include alcoholic beverages other than beer and malt beverages as defined in chapter one hundred and thirty-eight, dairy products, natural fruit juices or wine.

“Beverage container”, any sealable bottle, can, jar, or carton which is primarily composed of glass, metal, plastic or any combination of those materials and is produced for the purpose of containing a beverage. This definition shall not include containers made of biodegradeable material.

“Bottler”, any person filling beverage containers for sale to distributors or dealers, including dealers who bottle or sell their own brand of beverage.

“Consumer”, any person who purchases a beverage in a beverage container for use or consumption with no intent to resell such beverage.

“Dealer”, any person, including any operator of a vending machine, who engages in the sale of beverages in beverage containers to consumers in the commonwealth.

“Distributor”, any person who engages in the sale of beverages in beverage containers to dealers in the commonwealth including any bottler who engages in such sales.

“Label”, a molded imprint or raised symbol on or near the bottom of a plastic product.

“Plastic”, any material made of polymeric organic compounds and additives that can be shaped by flow.

“Plastic bottle”, a plastic container that has a neck that is smaller than the body of the container, accepts a screwtype, snap cap or other closure and has a capacity of sixteen fluid ounces or more, but less than five gallons.

“Rigid plastic container”, any formed or molded container, other than a bottle, intended for single use, composed predominantly of plastic resin and having a relatively inflexible finite shape or form with a capacity of eight ounces or more but less than five gallons.

“Reuseable beverage container”, any beverage container so constructed and designed that it is structurally capable of being refilled and resold by a bottler at least ten times after its initial use.

Chapter 94: Section 322. Refund value; exemption


Section 322. Every beverage container sold or offered for sale in the commonwealth shall have a refund value of not less than five cents. The provisions of this section shall not apply to such containers sold by a distributor for use by a common carrier in the conduct of interstate passenger service.

Chapter 94: Section 323. Return of container; refund; refusal to accept container


Section 323. (a) Every consumer shall deposit with the dealer the refund value of each beverage container purchased from that dealer.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (f), a dealer shall accept from any person during his business hours any empty beverage container of the type, size and brand sold by the dealer within the past sixty days and shall pay that person the refund value of each beverage container returned.

(c) Except as provided in paragraph (f), a distributor shall accept from any dealer any empty beverage container of the type, size and brand sold by the distributor within the past sixty days and shall pay the dealer the refund value of the beverage container plus a handling fee of at least one cent per container if the empty beverage container is presented at the time of and at the location at which the dealer obtains filled beverage containers from the distributor.

(d) Except as provided in paragraph (f), a bottler shall accept from a distributor or a dealer any empty reuseable beverage container of the type, size, and brand sold by the bottler within the past sixty days and shall pay the distributor or dealer the refund value of the reuseable beverage container plus a handling fee of at least one cent per container if the empty reuseable beverage container is presented at the time and at the location where the distributor or dealer obtains filled reuseable beverage containers from the bottler; provided, however, that a bottler other than a bottler of soft drinks manufacturing in the commonwealth who offers to refund deposits in accordance with this section, shall not require a distributor to deposit with the bottler the refund value of a beverage container which is not reuseable, nor shall a bottler require of a distributor that beverage containers which are not reuseable, be presented to the bottler at the location where the distributor obtains filled beverage containers.

(e) Any person may establish a redemption center and shall have the right to determine what type, size and brand of beverage container shall be accepted. Except as provided in paragraph (f), a distributor shall take from any redemption center any empty beverage container of the type, size and brand sold by the distributor within the past sixty days and shall pay the redemption center the refund value of the container plus a handling fee of at least one cent per container.

(f) A dealer, distributor, redemption center or bottler may refuse to accept any beverage container which contains material foreign to the normal contents of the container.

(g) Any bottler or distributor who receives deposits and/or handling charges under this chapter shall segregate said deposits or handling charges in a fund which shall be maintained separately from all other revenues. Said bottler or distributor shall report on a monthly basis to the alcoholic beverage control commission in a manner prescribed by said commission, the amount of said deposits or handling charges received and the amount refunded.

(h) Any bottler or distributor who is subject to the provisions of paragraphs (c), (d) or (e) shall maintain a separate account to be known as the Deposit Transaction Fund. Said fund shall be kept separate from all other revenues and accounts. Each bottler or distributor shall place in said fund the refund value for all non-reusable beverage containers it sells subject to the provisions of this chapter.

Except as specified in section three hundred and twenty-three D, amounts in such fund may only be expended to pay refund values paid after December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and eighty-nine for returned non-reusable beverage containers pursuant to paragraphs (c), (d) and (e). Amounts in such fund shall not be used to pay the handling fees required by paragraphs (c), (d) and (e). Each such fund shall be maintained by said bottlers and distributors on behalf of consumers who have purchased refundable non-reusable beverage containers and on behalf of the commonwealth; except as specified in section three hundred and twenty-three C, for no purpose are amounts in such fund to be regarded as income of said bottlers or distributors.

(i) The obligations to accept or take empty beverage containers and to pay the refund value and handling fees for such containers as described in paragraphs (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall apply only to containers originally sold in the commonwealth as filled beverage containers. Any person who tenders to a dealer, distributor, redemption center or bottler more than ten cases of twenty-four empty beverage containers each, which he knows or has reason to know were not originally sold in the commonwealth as filled beverage containers, for the purpose of obtaining a refund value or handling fee, shall be subject to the enforcement action and civil penalties set forth in section three hundred and twenty-seven. For the purpose of this section and section three hundred and twenty-seven, the term person shall include any individual, partnership, corporation, or other combination or entity.

Chapter 94: Section 323A. Distribution or sale of plastic bottles or rigid plastic containers; labeling requirements


Section 323A. No person shall distribute, sell or offer for sale any plastic bottle or rigid plastic container, or any product in such a bottle or container, unless such product bottle or container is labeled with a code indicating the plastic resin used to produce the bottle or container. Plastic bottles or rigid plastic containers with labels and basecups of a different material shall be coded by their basic material. Such code shall consist of a number placed within a triangle of arrows and letters placed below the triangle of arrows. The triangle shall be equilateral, formed by three arrows with the apex of each point of the triangle at the midpoint of each arrow, rounded with a short radius. The arrowhead of each arrow shall be at the midpoint of each side of the triangle with a short gap separating the pointer from the base of the adjacent arrow. The triangle, formed by the three arrows curved at their midpoints shall depict a clockwise path around the code number. The numbers and letters used shall be as follows:

(a) “1” - PETE (polyethylene terephthalate);

(b) “2” - HDPE (high density polyethylene);

(c) “3” - V (vinyl);

(d) “4” - LDPE (low density polyethylene);

(e) “5” - PP (polypropylene)

(f) “6” - PS (polystyrene);

(g) “7” - OTHER (includes multi-layer).

Chapter 94: Section 323B. Reports


Section 323B. Every bottler or distributor shall report to the commissioner of revenue by the tenth day of each month, concerning transactions affecting its Deposit Transaction Fund in the preceding month. Such report shall be made in a form prescribed by said commissioner and shall include the number of non-reusable beverage containers sold and the number of non-reusable beverage containers returned in said month, the amount of deposits received in and payments made from said fund in said month and the most recent three-month period, any income earned on amounts in the Deposit Transaction Fund during said preceding month, the balance in said Deposit Transaction Fund at the close of said preceding month, and such other information as said commissioner may require in furtherance of his duties pursuant to this chapter.

Chapter 94: Section 323C. Abandoned deposit amounts; determination


Section 323C. At the end of each month, any amounts that are or should be in a bottler’s or distributor’s Deposit Transaction Fund and that are in excess of the sum of (a) income earned on amounts in said account during that month and (b) the total amount of refund values received by said bottler or distributor for non-reusable beverage containers during that month and the two preceding months shall be deemed to constitute abandoned deposit amounts. Income earned on said fund may be transferred from said fund for use as funds of the bottler or distributor.

Chapter 94: Section 323D. Transfer of abandoned deposit amounts

Section 323D. By the tenth day of each month, each bottler or distributor shall turn over to the commissioner of revenue any deposit amounts deemed to be abandoned at the close of the preceding month, pursuant to section three hundred and twenty-three C. Such amounts may be paid from the Deposit Transaction Fund. Amounts collected by the commissioner of revenue pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the Clean Environment Fund, established pursuant to section three hundred and twenty-three F.

Chapter 94: Section 323E. Reimbursements to bottlers or distributors


Section 323E. If in any month the authorized payments from the Deposit Transaction Fund by a bottler or distributor pursuant to paragraph (h) of section three hundred and twenty-three exceed the funds that are or should be in its Deposit Transaction Fund, the commonwealth shall reimburse said bottler or distributor, from amounts received pursuant to section three hundred and twenty-three D, for those refunds paid by the bottler or distributor for non-reusable beverage containers for which the funds that are or should be in its Deposit Transaction Fund are insufficient; provided, however, that such reimbursements to a bottler or distributor for a month shall not exceed the excess of (a) amounts paid by said bottler or distributor to the commonwealth pursuant to said section three hundred and twenty-three D in the preceding twenty-four months over (b) amounts paid by the commonwealth to said bottler or distributor pursuant to this section during said twenty-four months.

Chapter 94: Section 323F. Repealed, 2003, 26, Sec. 296

Chapter 94: Section 324. Holding or connecting devices; break down by bacteria or light


Section 324. No dealer shall sell or offer for sale in the commonwealth containers connected to each other by a separate holding device constructed of plastic rings or any other device or material which cannot be broken down by bacteria and or by light into constituent parts.

Chapter 94: Section 325. Refund value; statement on container; vending machines


Section 325. (a) Every beverage container, except permanently labelled reusable glass containers, imported into, or offered for sale in the commonwealth by a bottler, distributor, or dealer shall clearly indicate in at least eight point type, by embossing or by stamp, or by label, or other method securely affixed to any portion except the bottom of the beverage container, the refund value of the container. A permanently labelled reusable glass beverage container first imported into, or offered for sale in the commonwealth after the effective date of this act by a bottler, distributor, or dealer shall clearly indicate in at least eight point type, by embossing or by stamp, or by label, or other method securely affixed to any portion except the bottom of the permanently labelled reusable glass beverage container, that the container may be returned for deposit. A dealer, distributor, redemption center, or bottler, may refuse to accept from any person any empty beverage container, except a permanently labelled reusable glass beverage container, which does not state thereon a refund value and may refuse to accept any permanently labelled reusable glass beverage container which does not state thereon that the container may be returned for deposit.

(b) Every operator of a vending machine which sells beverages in beverage containers shall post a conspicuous notice on each vending machine indicating that a refund of not less than five cents is available on each beverage container purchased and where and from whom that refund may be obtained. The provisions of this paragraph shall not be construed to require such vending machine operators to provide refunds at the premises wherein such vending machines are located.

Chapter 94: Section 327. Enforcement; penalty; interest


Section 327. The attorney general and district attorneys shall enforce the provisions of sections three hundred and twenty-one to three hundred and twenty-seven, inclusive. Any bottler, distributor, redemption center or dealer who violates any provisions of sections three hundred and twenty-one to three hundred and twenty-six, inclusive, shall be subject to a civil penalty for each violation of not more than one thousand dollars.

Any bottler or distributor failing to make full and timely payments as required by section three hundred and twenty-three D shall pay interest on any unpaid amounts at the rate of one and one-half percent for each month or part thereof until payment is made in full; provided, however, that any person, including a bottler, distributor, redemption center or dealer, who violates the provisions of paragraph (i) of section three hundred and twenty-three shall be subject to a civil penalty of the greater of one hundred dollars for each container or twenty-five thousand dollars for each tender of containers.

Updated September 23, 2009

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