Expanded Bottle Bill in Massachusetts Hits Roadblock


A proposal to expand the state’s bottle bill to include containers that hold water, iced tea and other non-carbonated beverages hit a roadblock Thursday at the Massachusetts Statehouse.

The legislative committee reviewing the bill opted to send it to a study committee. Few bills sent to study committees ever emerge. The Legislature’s formal session ends July 31, meaning there’s little chance of the bill emerging in time to be approved.

“The idea of sending it to a `study’ is an insult to the public of Massachusetts,’’ Janet Domenitz, executive director of Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, said in a statement following the vote. “The bill has been studied, restudied, and studied once again.’’

After Concord, MA banned the sales of single serving bottled water back in April, many were optimistic about the materialization of the expanded bottle bill. However, it looks as though this expanded bill may Rest in Peace in the study committees, which also happens to be known as “the graveyard”.

Now when I first heard this news I couldn’t have been any more disgusted by the Massachusetts State House. Monetary incentives for the public to recycle plastic bottles seems like a win-win to me. However, once I looked into the opponents argument I began to think a bit more deeply into the pros and cons of this proposed bill.

On paper the pros of the expanded bottle bill seem pretty appealing. A 5 cent refund to recycle plastics bottles which will more than likely cut down on the bottles that end up in our landfills and environment.  Not to mention a tax placed on all layers of the sales of the new plastic bottle beverages included in the bill would most likely add another reason for beverage companies and consumers to move away from plastic beverage containers all together.

Now lets consider some of the cons of this bill. While yes this bill would put us in a better recycling situation than we are currently in, it still doesn’t get down to the core of the problem-the need to cut down on plastic bottle production in the first place. Even if our recycling rate goes up to 100%, we are still yielding unnecessary emissions into the environment and remember that a huge portion of plastic bottles that are recycled go right back to China (most likely where they were bought in the first place) !!!.

So instead of thinking negatively about this roadblocked expanded bottle bill, think how other activists and social entrepreneurs might seize the opportunity for incentivizing people to cut down on plastic bottle consumption all together.  The private sector in our country needs to install more beverage filling stations so that plastic bottles won’t be necessary to produce in the first place.  A solution such as this could create jobs from the bottom up and help protect our environment at the same time.

Recycling is great. Efficiency is better.

-Señor Aqua

One response to “Expanded Bottle Bill in Massachusetts Hits Roadblock

  1. Pingback: Expanded Bottle Bill Passes MA Senate | BeCause Water·

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