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[greenyes] Expansion of Mass. Bottle Bill Bottled Up in committee...again;RVMs may face new regs
(with apologies for cross-postings):

After listening to testimony in a packed hearing room for almost four hours
on Tuesday June 24th, the members of the Massachusetts Joint Energy
Committee held a voice vote in an open executive session, recommending that
Senator Nuciforo's bill to expand the bottle bill be put to "study," and
that a bill which would require RVMs to install new scanning equipment be
reported out of committee favorably.

Also put to "study" (i.e. killed) were bills which variously would have:
* increased the handling fee to three cents,
* added fruit juices to the deposit system,
* allowed crushed aluminum cans to be accepted at redemption centers,
* exempted small retailers if a redemption center were located nearby,
* required the Clean Environment Fund to be used for recycling only, and
* repealed the bottle bill and replaced it with a piecemeal array of
recycling initiatives to be funded by industry for one year.

For at least the 3rd consecutive legislative session, the Energy
Committee--whose chairman represents the Worcester district where Polar
Beverages is located--have voted to uphold the status quo, allowing neither
the expansion nor the repeal to move forward.

Testifying in favor of the expansion bill for CRI was Jenny Gitlitz, a
Dalton, Massachusetts resident who earlier this spring convinced her state
senator, Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. (D-Pittsfield) to introduce a budget
amendment to expand the bottle bill, and when it failed in a Senate voice
vote, to introduce the expansion as a bill.  Senator Nuciforo's bill also
included a handling fee increase, and a distributor reimbursement incentive
of $0.004  for each container redeemed.

Also testifying in favor of Senator Nuciforo's bill were Iris
Vincencio-Garagay of MassPIRG, who coordinated the whirlwind pro-expansion
lobbying campaign; Russ Cohen of Mass Riverways, who documented the presence
of non-deposit containers in several important litter studies this year;
Brian Murphy, a Cambridge city councillor who used to serve on Lois Pines'
staff;  Claire Sullivan of the South Shore Recycling Cooperative; James
McCaffrey of the Sierra Club; and Greg Cooper of the EOEA, who voiced
Governor Romney's official support  of the bottle bill expansion.  In a show
of generosity and solidarity, Rep. Doug Petersen (D-Marblehead) also
testified in favor of Senator Nuciforo's bill, as well as his own expansion
bill, which has become a regular--and unsuccessful--feature of the June
recycling hearings.

In opposition to the expansion were a host of industry lobbyists and
representatives, including Chris Flynn (Mass Food Association), Frank
Anzelloti (Package Store Owners Assoc.), John Stasiowski (Beer Distributors
Association of MA), Ralph Crowley (Polar Beverages), Kevin Dietly
(Northbridge Environmental/Mass Soft Drink Association) and representatives
from VeryFine, Ocean Spray, and Welches, all of whom claimed an expansion
would hurt or "kill" their businesses in Massachusetts.  Also testifying
against the expansion was a lobbyist from the Wine Institute (based in
California); the anti-deposit consultant Wayne DeFeo (from New Jersey); the
Mass Retailers Association; and the International Bottled Water Association.

H336, the so-called "anti-RVM" bill, will now go to the Ways & Means
committee.  If reported favorably and passed by the full House, it would
require all new reverse vending machines (RVM's) to incorporate scanning
technology to read the stamped, raised, and printed deposit indicia on
bottles and cans, and to reject containers without the deposit indicia.  It
would also require expensive retrofits on the over 2,000 RVMs already
operating in Massachusetts.

CRI testified in opposition to this bill because it only addressed one type
of fraud associated with the Massachusetts Bottle Bill, and because we saw
it as restricting the choices consumers have to redeem containers.  Also
opposed to the measure were representatives of Tomra North America and
Envipco, two RVM manufacturers.

RVM manufacturers have called on the beverage industry to instead implement
add-on UPC bar codes to distininguish between in-state and out-of-state
containers, while the beer and soft drink industry reps claim the dual
inventories that this would necessitate would be too costly to manage.

Legislators on the committee appeared confused by the complex technological
and business aspects of the bill, and expressed frustration that the RVM and
beverage industries refused to work out their disputes among themselves.

Deposit law supporters will continue to work for expansion in the coming

To download a PDF copy of the CRI testimony, please visit our website:

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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