Here’s how advocates would like to update the statewide bottle bill


You can soon get a refund for your deposits.

In this 2013 file photo, nip on the floor on Washington Street. (Yoon S. Byun / Globe Staff)

If a new law is passed, you could get double the return on those bottle deposits.

An update to the Massachusetts Container Deposit Act of 1982, or “bottle bill,” would introduce some major changes to the law, including increasing the deposit yield from $0.05 to $0.10. The campaign behind a better bottle bill Launched Tuesday at an event hosted by MASSPIRG The bill’s sponsors are Representative Marjorie Decker and Senator Cynthia Karim.

“Our climate, our environment, and our overall health are all linked together. We know that toxins from our excrement make us, our wildlife, and our nature sick,” Decker said. It is time to act. It’s time to win over public health and the environment.”

Advocates say the upgrades more efficiently reduce waste and litter, municipal disposal costs, and effectively clean public spaces. The law provides for a refundable surcharge on the purchase of “any drinkable liquid intended for oral human consumption,” According to the state house news service. It expands definitions of containers to include those that did not exist in 1982, such as bottles of water, juice, sports drinks, iced tea, and – in particular – small bottles of liquor.

“It’s the right time. There is no reason not to do it,” Karim said. “By expanding the container deposit system to include all of these containers, we are bringing bottle billing into the 21st century.”

According to MASSPIRG, updates on similar bills in Oregon, Michigan, Connecticut and Maine are already having an impact. Since its law enforcement, Michigan’s recovery rate has been 89% and the waste stream has fallen 6 to 8% each year.

We are also experiencing growth and modernization at the national level. When Oregon’s 10 yen deposit took effect in 2017, Susan Collins, president of the Container Recycling Institute, said the state saw the recovery rate rise from 64% to 86% over two years. “We expect a nearly threefold increase in the number of people worldwide with access to container deposit systems by 2030 as governments around the world turn to these programs to reduce waste and landfill costs.”

The legislation, H.3289 and S.2149, was sponsored by 50 other legislators and supported by 55 organizations. Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll also joined Tuesday’s press conference to support the legislation.

“This is an opportunity to protect human health and preserve the green spaces that residents have relied on during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “We’re always looking for ways to revive the spaces we congregate in, and updating our bottle bill is one of the best ways to do that.”

The State House News Service reported that Massachusetts voters rejected the 2014 ballot question to expand the bottle bill, with 26% voting in favor and 71% against. In 2014, opponents argued The bill would cost more with few environmental benefits and the state should instead focus on improving curbside recycling.

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