Think Local - Massachusetts Bottle Bill

Flickr Photo "Crushed" via Jessica Dunajski
With so much attention to national politics, many of us are very concerned, and rightly so, with the Presidential election, and even our upcoming Senate election.

However, our only local focus shouldn't just be the freshest fruits and vegetables at the Farmers' Markets.

Isn't the saying, "All politics is local?" So we should all be concerned with what happens in our own backyards too. Especially when it's litter.

If you take a walk outside, you might see some plastic bottles on the ground. Massachusetts has pending legislation that would update our current beverage container law, also known as the Bottle Bill.

Currently, glass, plastic, metal, aluminum and bi-metal containers holding beer and other malt beverages, carbonated soft drinks and mineral waters are subject to the law and must carry a deposit label before being sold.

Wine, dairy products, natural fruit juices, non-carbonated drinks, and alcoholic beverages other than beer and malt beverages are exempt from the law. Also containers greater than two gallons in size also are exempt, regardless of product type.

The current law does not cover many of the bottled beverages that people buy more often now. The hope is that the new law will increase recycling and decrease litter among many other things.

I received an email from MASSPIRG stating that they will be visiting different parts of the state to spread the word about the legislation and bring the Updated Bottle Bill up for a vote. There are only three weeks left to do so and now is the time to contact your legislators if you feel strongly about the Updated Bottle Bill and want your voice to be heard.

According to the email, 2000 emails were sent to legislators in the past few weeks. However, more emails and phone calls are needed to demand immediate action. Or else the vote will not take place.

Many business interests are against a change in the law and a minority of consumers are against it too. Maybe you. Apparently the updated law has been blocked from important changes for 13 years. However, according to MASSPIRG, a recent survey says that 77% of consumers are for the new law.

I'm all about the democratic process, so those of you against it should voice your concerns too. But it would be nice to see less plastic bottles on the street. According to MASSPIRG, 208 of Massachusetts cities and towns endorse the Updated Bottle Bill.

In 1982, MASSPIRG led the fight to pass the original Bottle Bill and now 80% of bottles and cans covered under the Bottle Bill are recycled instead of buried or burned.

However, only 20% of containers that are NOT covered under the law end up being recycled. That adds up to more than 1 billion water, energy and sports drink bottles per year that get thrown in our landfills or burned in incinerators. Those billion bottles could fill Fenway Park to the Monster seats.

So if you're interested in learning more about the Updated Bottle Bill, this week is your chance. Look for "Bottle Bill," a seven-foot inflatable bottle on tour across the commonwealth.

Tuesday, July 10 in Newton: At 1:30 p.m, Bottle Bill will be at the Farmers' Market in Cold Spring Park at 1200 Beacon Street.  

Thursday, July 12 in Falmouth: At 12:30 p.m, Bottle Bill will help the Falmouth Climate Action Team install recycling bins on Main Street and Hamlin Avenue .

Saturday, July 14 in Winchester: Bottle Bill will visit the Winchester Farmers' Market. The farmers market will be set up on the town common at 29 Waterfield Road between Laraway Road, Church Street and Waterfield Road.

Whether you can make these events or not, let your voice be heard and contact your legislator!

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Chris O said…
I'm so for this bill Anali! While I don't live in MA, my local trash company has added to their list of recycle numbers beyond numbers "1" and "2". They now accept everything up to number "7." While I try to limit buying things in plastic bottles, which isn't always easy, it's great to know that more of them are being recycled. While I'm not much for government intervention in our lives, I wish all companies would begin to comply and use containers that can be recycled.
Lisa Johnson said…
chris - I agree that it's hard not to buy plastic bottles. But I recycle everything I can and try to reuse things. Straying from the bottle bill, but styrofoam is a huge issue too and often can't be recycled. I wish that less of it was used.
Can-Can said…
Thanks, Anali. This bill is so important. I've signed petition and emailed legislators.
Lisa Johnson said…
can-can - Wonderful! Let's hope for a vote!

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