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[greenyes] Commentary in support of Bottle Bill Expansion in Massachusetts
To reiterate where the Massachusetts expanded bottle bill is:
The budget amendment offered by Senator Nuciforo was voted down last
Thursday, but he will be offering it as a bill soon.

The following column appeared in today's Berkshire Eagle (no URL
available)--unfortunately, a little behind schedule for the budget
debate--but still quite supportive of the expansion:

Drinking habits change litter
by Ruth Bass, 
The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, MA)
June 2, 2003, page B1

RICHMOND -- Lines of bike riders in colorful shirts wheel along Berkshire
roadsides, helmeted heads tilted downward and legs often seeming to pedal in

Sometimes they insist on riding two abreast or so far onto the pavement of a
two-lane road that they cause a certain amount of consternation for drivers.

But mostly they are just an energetic addition to spring, summer and fall.
And even as they pull out around bikers, what drivers rarely see is one
stopped by the roadside to change a tire.

The bottle bill helped with that. Back in the days when one of our daughters
rode to Pittsfield to swim at a friend's house, her bike frequently hit a
chunk of broken glass and a tire went splat.

We might have considered these flats just an annoyance caused by litterbugs
except that Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary had sent our son on a long
bicycle trip in Vermont one summer.

That state, sometimes considered a conservative place, has often been ahead
of its time on various social issues. Bottle recycling was one of them. The
sanctuary riders reported that ruining a tire on a broken beer or soda
bottle in Vermont just didn't happen.

The litter wasn't there.

For a long time now, Massachusetts has operated under a bottle bill, much
maligned by some retailers who don't want to deal with returned bottles but
loved by environmentalists and bikers who don't want to deal with the
nighttime twinkle of discarded cans and the daytime hazard of broken glass.

At first, it seems strange that getting back a nickel inspires so many
Arnericans to take back their soda and beer containers, even though lots of
us as kids looked on returnable bottles as found money and a route to the
candy counter.

In a country where people discard pennies into containers by cash registers,
a nickel would seem too insignificant to bother with.

But this is the same nation where drivers will go all the way across town
?or wait until a Saturday special? to save anywhere from a penny to a nickel
on gasoline.

And it's a country where many, many people are convinced that recycling is a
part of life. It's also part of the economy?this newspaper has a policy of
using a certain percentage of recycled paper in its printing.

And those who kept warm this past long winter in their fleece vests and
jackets are, surprisingly, wrapped in recycled plastic bottles.

Things evolve, and Americans are now obsessed with drinking bottled water
and bottled fruit juices, much of which comes in plastic containers that
carry no deposit. And for lack of a nickel deposit, considerable water and
juice container litter is appearing on roadsides.

So it makes sense for the state to think about expanding bottle bill
coverage. Sen. Andrea Nuciforo Jr. deserves support from runners, bike
riders, walkers, drivers and environmentalists for his co-sponsorship of an
amendment that would expand the bottle bill.

In the past, the bottle bill covered fizz but not flat. Cokes and Bud? Their
bubbles are worth a nickel. Grapefruit juice, Gatorade, Poland Spring? Drink
and toss, preferably into a recycling bin but quite possibly out of the car

The complaints of retailers are addressed in the amendment. They would get a
slightly higher fee for handling the containers. (And it should be
remembered that they do make money on whatever they collect.)

Many retailers apparently complain that they need space and time to take
care of returned bottles and cans. Well, so do householders. In the days
when all waste in the house went into one big container and was hauled off
to the dump, getting rid of stuff was really simple. If the station wagon
was big enough, people could pitch mattresses, TV sets and the proverbial
kitchen sink onto the pile of rat-ridden, noxious stuff at the dump.

Now everyone needs a place for paper, a place for recyclable cans and
bottles, a place for garbage and trash and a place for containers worth a
nickel. And cities and towns have persuaded trash-makers to use special bins
for recyclables, so when the family detritus is at roadside, everyone knows
whether a household recycles or is just wasteful.


Jennifer Gitlitz
Research Director, Container Recycling Institute

Home Office:
2 Pomeroy Ave.
Dalton, MA 01226
Tel. (413) 684-4746
eFax: (928) 833-0460
Email: jgitlitz@no.address

Container Recycling Institute headquarters:
1911 N. Ft. Myer Dr. #702
Arlington, VA 22209-1603
Tel. (703) 276-9800
Fax: (703) 276-9587

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