For Immediate Release
May 05, 2011
Environmental and Energy
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Mayor's Press Office
Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined State Senator Cynthia Creem, State Representative Alice Wolf, Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, and statewide recycling advocates to announce that a majority of cities and towns in Massachusetts have passed resolutions in support of the updated Bottle Bill. This legislation would close a major loophole in the existing law expanding the definition of beverage containers to include water bottles, sports drinks, and other beverages in order to encourage recycling and reduce litter.
“The expanded bottle bill is good for our neighborhoods, good for our environment, and good for our pocket book,” Mayor Menino said. “These containers litter our streets, business districts and parks, and this legislation gives us a real opportunity to prevent litter while saving important resources.”
The public’s consumption of these beverages has grown significantly since the Bottle Bill was originally enacted in 1982. Today, over 3 billion containers are used in the Commonwealth every year with about one-third not recycled due to the loophole in the legislation. With the current redemption rate at nearly 70 percent, the Bottle Bill has proven to be a recycling success. However, only soda and beer containers are eligible for redemption under the current law.
“As times have changed and the way people consume drinks has changed, it really makes sense to update the Bottle Bill,” said Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. “Including more containers in the law will give consumers an extra incentive to recycle.”
“Our cities and towns know the importance of updating the bottle bill,” said Senator Cynthia Creem. “The public continues its strong support, and I hope the legislature will move swiftly now to enact this bill.”
Boston pays approximately $79-per-ton to dispose of residential solid waste, but an updated Bottle Bill would increase containers eligible for redemption by 33 percent. This increase would result in 3,000 tons of additional beverage containers collected per year, saving Boston taxpayers over a half million dollars per year in maintenance, collection, and disposal costs. Statewide, the Department of Environmental Protection estimates that an updated Bottle Bill will save cities and towns between $3.7 and $6.5 million every year in avoided collection, disposal and recycling costs.