A YES vote on Question 2 to upgrade the Bottle Bill will reduce litter, save taxpayer money, create jobs and save energy.
The Bottle Bill is the most effective recycling tool we have. Eighty percent of beverage containers covered by the Bottle Bill’s 5 cent deposit are redeemed and recycled. Only 23 percent of nondeposit containers are recycled — the rest become litter or end up in landfills and incinerators.
As an advocate for clean water, I can attest to the extraordinary number of bottles and cans — mostly unredeemable — that are dumped annually into the Pepperell Pond section of the Nashua River. In 2013, eight of us working two hours on the river and its shores pulled out 286 mostly unredeemable recyclables. This year, 10 people working two hours on the same section of the river pulled out 360 mostly unredeemable recyclables.
A Yes on Question 2 would add a 5 cent deposit to water, sports drinks, tea, juices and other on-the-go beverages that were not included in the original Bottle Bill because they were not popular when the law was passed in the early 1980s. We need to update the bill so more beverage containers will be recycled rather than ending up as litter in our rivers, woods and roadsides. Any unclaimed deposits will go to a state fund earmarked for recycling and environmental purposes.
The Upgraded Bottle Bill is supported by many local and state environmental and civil organizations including the League of Women Voters, Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Nashua River Watershed Association. The Upgraded Bottle Bill is opposed by the beverage industry to protect its bottom line. To date, the beverage industry has invested $5.5M into a campaign to defeat the bill.
John Madigan, owner of the Groton Market, said in a recent interview, “I would rather put up with a little inconvenience to help keep our rivers clean.”