Bottle Bill Dies in Conference Committee

Legislators decide to take the bottle bill amendment — which would expand the kinds of bottles that can be recycled for cash — out of the jobs act.


The bottle bill will not make it to the governor's desk this year.

The controversial proposal was included as an amendment to the Senate jobs bill but scrapped Monday in conference committee, according to an aide to its sponsor, Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth). The jobs bill is expected to be laid before Gov. Deval Patrick Tuesday, the last day of the legislative session.

The amendment had faced strong opposition in the House, with Speaker Robert DeLeo describing it as a tax. Hedlund disputed this view, saying that taxes can't be redeemed. 

The expansion to the 31-year-old law designed to promote recycling and reduce litter would have added plastic bottles used for water, juices, iced tea and sports drinks to the list of containers subject to the 5-cent bottle deposit. Under the law, these types of containers carry a 5-cent redeemable deposit that can be collected when they are returned to the store or a redemption center. 

Opponents said the bill would have increased costs for businesses and consumers. Supporters said it would have encouraged more recycling.

The governor has said that the state could collect up to $58 million a year on unredeemed bottles, and that the program cuts the cost to city of recycling the bottles.

Supporters of expanding the bottle bill have pushed the issue for more than a decade, according to a brief history from the Massachusetts Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill.

Opponent Chris Flynn of the Massachusetts Food Association argued in a recent Globe editorial that the bill is anti-business and "anti-Massachusetts."

David Ertischek July 31, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Aren't these bottles already being recycled by many municipal recycling programs, and thus money would be taken away from those place? I think the making certain bottles like soda cans recyclable has helped the community recycle through the years, but I think it's time to move past that, and have single-stream recycling containers on street corners.
Rickie Harvey August 02, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Sadly, less than 20 percent of plastic water and sports drinks bottles are ever recycled; instead, they are simply thrown in the trash and go into our landfills (or left lying around our streets). Just glance into the trash cans at any sports event, outdoor concert, or park, and you will see the plastic bottles overflowing. By contrast, 80 percent of the bottles covered under the current Bottle Bill are recycled. It is appalling that we cannot get this bill passed; it is a true testament to the power of the lobbyists working for the water-bottling companies.


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