GreenYes Archives
[GreenYes Home] - [Thread Index] - [Date Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]

[greenyes] MA State Sen Nuciforo urges expansion of state bottle bill
Ths article below (Nuciforo urges expansion of state bottle bill) from
today's Berkshire Eagle, can be viewed at the following url:,1413,101~6283~1419375,00.html


Working with MassPIRG and the MA chapter of the Sierra Club, CRI helped
craft an amendment to the MA Senate budget that would expand the state's
20-year old bottle bill.  The amendment, sponsored by Senator Andrea
Nuciforo of Pittsfield has 4 other co-sponsors, and will likely be debated
on the floor of the senate this week.  Past efforts to expand the bottle
bill have failed because the powerful beverage and grocery industry lobby
was able to keep expansion bills bottled up in the Joint Energy and
Environment Committee.  The budget amendment route bypasses the committee

If you live in Massachusetts, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR STATE SENATOR TODAY and
urge him/her to support Sen Nuciforo's amendment to update the bottle bill.


Nuciforo urges expansion of state bottle bill
By Erik Arvidson
Eagle Statehouse Bureau

BOSTON -- State senators are debating a plan to expand the state's
21-year-old "bottle bill" to include more types of beverage containers and
to increase the reimbursement rates to retailers.  The plan, which faces
opposition from some Senate leaders, would broaden the types of containers
on which deposits would be required to include noncarbonated beverages such
as juices, sports drinks and wine coolers.

Sen. Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., D-Pittsfield, is co-sponsoring an amendment to
the Senate's fiscal 2004 budget to expand the controversial bill.

Changing habits

Recycling advocates who support the changes said the law simply needs to
adapt to a change in people's tastes and buying habits.

"Our consuming habits have changed and we're seeing an immediate consumption
trend," said Jenny Gitlitz, research director at the Virginia-based
Container Recycling Institute. "People are more mobile. They are buying
drinks at convenience stores, and are not taking them home but are
discarding them on the premises."

Gitlitz also is a Dalton resident and lobbied Nuciforo to file the measure
in the Senate. She added that because people are buying more drinks away
from home and there is no deposit on bottled water and other noncarbonated
beverages, people are far more likely to litter or not recycle the

Under the current law, a 5-cent deposit is added to a purchase of beer and
soda, but other popular beverages such as bottled water or bottled lemonade
are not included.

In addition to expanding the types of beverages that require a deposit, the
senators' measure would also slightly increase the fees paid by bottle
distributors to retailers and redemption centers that handle bottle

The fee would increase from 2.25 cents to 3 cents per unit, which supporters
said would offset the increased volume of bottles that can be redeemed.

The measure would also give distributors an incentive to collect bottles by
giving them a reimbursement of a fraction of a penny per unit collected.

A similar measure to expand the bottle bill was filed as an amendment to the
House budget, but House leaders rejected it. Gov. Mitt Romney has proposed
an expansion of the bottle bill as a rider to his budget proposal. The
governor's plan would eliminate a dedicated fund in which unredeemed bottle
deposits are collected, and direct that money into the general fund to pay
for recycling programs.

Romney's proposal would also expand the definition of beverage containers
carrying the 5-cent deposit to include other types of containers, similar to
the senators' plan.

"I'm very sensitive to the cost issues experienced by my friends in the
package store and redemption business," Nuciforo said. "We have to remember
that the goal here is to keep our parks and streets clean and to further
encourage the recycling of certain materials."

Opponents have argued that expanding the bottle bill would hurt businesses
in communities bordering other states that have no bottle deposit program.

"It puts us at an economic disadvantage competing with New Hampshire," said
Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, D-Lowell. "People when they go over the border are
not just buying beer and soda while they're there, but everything else."

"Consumer cost is much higher for Massachusetts stores, and that drives a
ton of purchases north of the border," said Jon Hurst, president of the
Retailers Association of Massachusetts, which opposes the bottle bill.

"You're also going to be dealing with illegal redemptions from non-customers
coming south to redeem containers that were never sold in Massachusetts," he

Hurst added that the bottle bill increases the operating costs for retailers
through the expenses of storing and handling the bottles and for keeping
storage areas clean.

"We shouldn't be turning our retail stores into the local trash hauler,"
Hurst said. "Under this proposal, we become New England's dump. What we need
is a sensible, comprehensive recycling program."

Curbside recycling

Hurst said curbside recycling programs have become so successful that many
states have not implemented bottle redemption programs.

"Household recycling is cost-effective and convenient for people. Saving
this stuff and then bringing it to the stores is far from convenient for
people," Hurst said.

Iris Vicencio-Garaygay, a recycling advocate for the Massachusetts Public
Interest Research Group, said that curbside recycling is not provided as a
service in many smaller towns.

"We need as many of these points of access as we can get for recycling," she
said. "Cities and towns are already strapped and are dying to get rid of
some of the waste stream that comes in because they have to pay to get rid
of it."

Patricia Franklin
Executive Director
Container Recycling Institute
1911 N. Fort Myer Drive, Ste. 702
Arlington, VA 22209

TEL:   703.276.9800
FAX:   703.276.9587
EMAIL: pfranklin@no.address

Patricia Franklin
Executive Director
Container Recycling Institute
1911 N. Fort Myer Drive, Ste. 702
Arlington, VA 22209

TEL:   703.276.9800
FAX:   703.276.9587
EMAIL: pfranklin@no.address

[GreenYes Home] - [Date Index] - [Thread Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]