CORRECTION! Poll:QUESTION 2: Law Proposed by Initiative Petition Expanding the Beverage Container Deposit Law


I love everything about the expansion of the bottle bill to include sports beverages, juice drinks and water bottles EXCEPT this little nugget that the people aren’t talking about-

The proposed law would require the state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to adjust the container deposit amount every five years to reflect (to the nearest whole cent) changes in the consumer price index, but the value could not be set below five cents.

Read through the summary and vote in the poll at the bottom of the post.

Here it is from the State Of Mass Website-


QUESTION 2: Law Proposed by Initiative Petition

Expanding the Beverage Container Deposit Law

Do you approve of a law summarized below, on which no vote was taken by the Senate or the House of Representatives on or before May 6, 2014?


This proposed law would expand the state’s beverage container deposit law, also known as the Bottle Bill, to require deposits on containers for all non-alcoholic non-carbonated drinks in liquid form intended for human consumption, except beverages primarily derived from dairy products, infant formula, and FDA approved medicines. The proposed law would not cover containers made of paper-based biodegradable material and aseptic multi-material packages such as juice boxes or pouches.

The proposed law would require the state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to adjust the container deposit amount every five years to reflect (to the nearest whole cent) changes in the consumer price index, but the value could not be set below five cents.

The proposed law would increase the minimum handling fee that beverage distributors must pay dealers for each properly returned empty beverage container, which was 2¼ cents as of September 2013, to 3½ cents. It would also increase the minimum handling fee that bottlers must pay distributors and dealers for each properly returned empty reusable beverage container, which was 1 cent as of September 2013, to 3½ cents. The Secretary of EEA would review the fee amounts every five years and make appropriate adjustments to reflect changes in the consumer price index as well as changes in the costs incurred by redemption centers. The proposed law defines a redemption center as any business whose primary purpose is the redemption of beverage containers and that is not ancillary to any other business.

The proposed law would direct the Secretary of EEA to issue regulations allowing small dealers to seek exemptions from accepting empty deposit containers. The proposed law would define small dealer as any person or business, including the operator of a vending machine, who sells beverages in beverage containers to consumers, with a contiguous retail space of 3,000 square feet or less, excluding office and stock room space; and fewer than four locations under the same ownership in the Commonwealth. The proposed law would require that the regulations consider at least the health, safety, and convenience of the public, including the distribution of dealers and redemption centers by population or by distance or both.

The proposed law would set up a state Clean Environment Fund to receive certain unclaimed container deposits. The Fund would be used, subject to appropriation by the state Legislature, to support programs such as the proper management of solid waste, water resource protection, parkland, urban forestry, air quality and climate protection.

The proposed law would allow a dealer, distributor, redemption center or bottler to refuse to accept any beverage container that is not marked as being refundable in Massachusetts.

The proposed law would take effect on April 22, 2015.

A YES VOTE would expand the state’s beverage container deposit law to require deposits on containers for all non-alcoholic, non-carbonated drinks with certain exceptions, increase the associated handling fees, and make other changes to the law.

A NO VOTE would make no change in the laws regarding beverage container deposits.

As provided by law, the 150-word arguments are written by proponents and opponents of each question, and reflect their opinions. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not endorse these arguments, and does not certify the truth or accuracy of any statement made in these arguments. The names of the individuals and organizations who wrote each argument, and any written comments by others about each argument, are on file in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

IN FAVOR: A YES vote will improve the “Bottle Bill,” where consumers put down a refundable nickel deposit on a beer or soda. People get the nickel back when they return the container. A YES vote will extend this program to cover other beverages such as bottled water.

The Bottle Bill works: 80% of beer and soda containers get recycled. Only 23% of non-deposit containers do. So every year a billion bottles get tossed away, often on playgrounds, roads and beaches. Communities have to pay to clean them up.

A YES vote equals more recycling, less trash and litter, and big savings for towns’ waste management costs. That’s why this idea has been endorsed by 209 of our cities and towns, as well as Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, 350 business leaders, and independent groups like the League of Women Voters, MASSPIRG, Sierra Club and hundreds more.

Authored by:
Coalition for an Updated Bottle Bill
294 Washington Street, Suite 5001
Boston, MA 02108

AGAINST: Massachusetts should be a recycling leader, but Question 2 will keep us in the past. Ninety percent of households now have access to curbside and community recycling programs. Let’s focus on what works instead of expanding an outdated, ineffective, and inconvenient system.

Everyone wants to increase recycling rates—but expanded forced deposits are the wrong approach.

Question 2 would:

• cost nearly $60 million a year, more than three times the price of curbside programs (while increasing recycling rates by less than 1 percent);

• waste taxpayer dollars on expanding an uneconomical, 30-year-old system;

• raise your nickel deposit and additional fees every five years—without your vote.

Today, more than $30 million of your unclaimed nickels go into the state’s general fund and into the hands of politicians – not to environmental programs. Let’s stop throwing money at an inefficient system and invest in modern recycling technology.

Vote NO on Question 2.

Authored by:
Robert L. Moylan
Comprehensive Recycling Works
31 Milk Street, Suite 518
Boston, MA 02109

9 thoughts on “CORRECTION! Poll:QUESTION 2: Law Proposed by Initiative Petition Expanding the Beverage Container Deposit Law

  1. I’m not seeing where you see that the deposit will rise “5 cents every 5 years”? I see that it allows for increasing it “to the nearest cent” along with the CPI, but not “5 cents” every time?

    I’m also on the fence about this. My biggest issue with deposits is that you cannot crush the cans to save space before dropping them off, because the machines won’t scan them unless they are still “round”. This makes for a LOT of wasted space in my house, or many repeated trips. If there was a way to eliminate the need to preserve the shape of the original container and still easily get back the deposit I’d be more supportive.

    Secondly, I agree with the argument about curbside recycling. I already do this religiously, so it’s annoying to have to deal with deposit bottles and cans in a totally separate and less convenient way. Without deposits, I could easily drop the non-deposit items in the curbside bin without concern. I see that the “pro” argument says that non-deposit bottles are not recycled as much… I don’t know who those people are, but I know I am not one of them… it’s easy enough to drop them off in the recycle bin (particularly with the added cost of the Barney bags anyway). I question the source of that data, but it’s not given here… disappointing. Though, I’d expect a lower rate of recycling if you look at parks and such, because tourists won’t have an option to recycle them curbside, so I’d expect higher trash-bottles there!

    Overall, I’m against expansion, I guess… but could be convinced otherwise…


  2. My interpretation is that when reevaluated the deposit could not drop below the current 5 cent deposit. I too don’t see where it must be raised 5cents.


  3. Opponents of the expanded bottle bill are trying to buy the election, having spent nearly 8 million dollars to defeat the bill, while supporters have raised about $525,000. If as they bottle industry claims, that curbside recycling of water bottle works, why is there a disproportionately tremendous multitude of water bottles (compared to soda and beer bottles) littering our coastline, ocean, dunes, ponds, marshes, parks, garden, and city streets. We simply only have to walk out our front doors and take a look around to see that their claims are without truth.


  4. Coke, Pepsi, etc. have HUGE cash in this game. And yes, I think that is the line that the beverage industry is harping on. But as noted above, I think it just means it can’t drop below 5 cents–not a mandatory rise of 5 cents every 5 years. Kim is right. Just walk out the door. Look in the harbor. See what washes up on the back shore. I am 100% on board with this expansion. Should’ve happened years ago. We are drunk on and drowning in plastic.


  5. This is a good moment to point out how well the disinformation campaign by the big soda companies works. Your average Joe(y) will see the commercials and think, Hey, 5 cents every 5 years? That’s crazy! But it’s not true. There will not be a 5 cent increase every 5 years. Politics. A great learning moment right here.


  6. I’d like to see this pass and will wait to see how much impact it will have. Out here in Missouri, there is no deposit law at all, and it shows. There is a bit of value in aluminum, so there are people who go out and pick cans up despite the poor returns on their time and effort, bless ’em, so we don’t see many cans lying around. But still way too much paper and plastic in the ditch or in the general trash pickup.


  7. States with curbside collection have recycling rates of less than 30 percent. The nine states with a bottle bill have recycling rates in excess of 75 percent !!! We need the bill expanded to cover the beverages containers that now litter our streets,parks and beaches .


  8. As a litterpickerupper I can say that unless I am picking up after an under age drinking party I am not picking up 5 cents deposit cans or bottles most are water bottles,gatorade and those horrible foil drink boxes with straws. Many, many straws and tops to the plastic bottles. Cigarettes are still the number one item. Many places I visit I always see what they are doing for trash and recycling hoping that one day we can implement some of their ideas. We as a city and state are far behind other cities and countries in our quest to keep our state clean and our city. We still in 2014 don’t have recycling downtown or at our public buildings. The Clean City Initiative along with volunteers worked to point out we had recycling with signage at Wingaersheek and Good Harbor beach this year. Guilding residents and visitors to recycle. We can do better and hopefully with the passage of this expansion it will help. “Help Us to Keep Our Home Port Clean”


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