March 1, 2006 CONTACT: Massachusetts Sierra Club
James McCaffrey (617) 423-5775
Phillip Sego (617) 492-1032
Legislature Opts for More Trash, More Litter
The legislature again missed an opportunity to increase recycling rates, conserve oil and save municipalities money by failing to act on the Bottle Bill Update filed by Rep. Douglas Petersen (D-Marblehead) and Sen. Andrea Nuciforo (D-Pittsfield). The bill was recently sent “to study,” often signaling the death of legislation for the session.
This legislation would have updated Massachusetts’ highly successful bottle bill to include non-carbonated beverages such as iced tea, sports drinks, water, and other beverages in order to keep current with the public’s changing beverage tastes.
The proposed update would have allowed our bottle bill’s ~80% redemption/recycling rate to apply to these currently non-covered containers – that currently have only a ~20% recycling rate. This bill also would have increased the handling fee for redemption centers from 2.25¢ to 3¢ - without changing the nickel deposit. Redemption centers have not had a raise in 15 years. Many have been forced out of business due to rising costs.
“The only difference consumers would see with this legislation is less trash on the road,” said James McCaffrey Director of the Massachusetts Sierra Club. He added that according to studies, “the only difference the state would see is $15 million more in state coffers.”
“This is a missed opportunity to divert millions of pounds of waste from our landfills,” said McCaffrey. “Most of the containers being discarded today are made of PET plastic which is made of 99% petroleum. Litter is increasing and landfill space is shrinking. This bill would have helped address those problems.”