When we last took a look at the expanded bottle bill in Massachusetts, it was all but buried in bureaucratic limbo. However, Thursday afternoon the Massachusetts Senate approved the expanded bottle bill as an amendment to a jobs and economic development bill. This amendment was passed with no debate and came as an excellent surprise for those in favor of improved recycling efforts. The bill will now move onto the Massachusetts House, and finally onto the desk of Governor Patrick.
What Does This Bill Mean?
The expanded bill would make iced tea, water, and other non-carbonated beverages eligible for a five cent deposit when the product is recycled at designated locations.
The bill had enough votes to pass when it originally came before the Massachusetts Senate, but eventually stalled and looked to be dead in the water. With this unexpected turn of events Thursday, the bill has been wrapped up in an economic development and will move on to the next steps in the process.
The bill passed the Senate with no debate or roll call, and the results were slightly surprising, considering how the bill had been sitting and how outspoken both sides of the argument have been. Although Governor Patrick has supported the expanded bottle bill, there is anger over the bill from many food and beverage companies. They are vocal opponents of the bill and argue that curbside recycling produces enough recycled material.
In addition, a great deal of food and beverage companies believe that the expanded bottle bill would impact jobs for Massachusetts beverage companies. However, because so many Massachusetts redemption centers are outdated, there would be a need for manpower should the bill pass. Some opponents also worry about a possible tax included with the bill, but proponents are quick to point out that the redemption is a voluntary transaction rather than a tax.
As of now, the future of the expanded bottle bill looks positive for bottle bill proponents. However, as we have seen from the history of this bill, new developments can happen at anytime and with any outcome. Although the bill passed with a 22-15 vote and Governor Patrick has shown support, it’s just not possible to predict how politicians will vote. Yesterday was certainly progress, but the expanded bottle bill isn’t here just yet.
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- Expanded Bottle Bill in Massachusetts Hits Roadblock (becausewater.com)