When we were last involved with the Expanded Bottle bill, the bill had passed the Massachusetts Senate and looked like there was hope to pass within an economic development bill. While the Massachusetts Senate had passed the bill, it was eventually struck from the economic development bill by the Massachusetts House and the Joint Conference Committee. The omission of the Expanded Bottle bill is a huge disappointment for Massachusetts citizens and means that the 14 year wait to update the bottle bill will continue.
When we visited the State House to cover the Expanded Bottle bill rally, we saw an outpouring of enthusiasm and hope for getting the bill to Governor Patrick. While Governor Patrick was in favor of the bill, this dismissal reaffirms the power that large food and beverage corporations have in the House. Even though one poll showed the support of 77% of the public, Massachusetts will not expand the amount of recyclable containers that can be redeemed.
Proponents of the Expanded Bottle bill question the intent of politicians who would deprive Massachusetts consumers of more recycling. Supporters argued that the expanded bill would bring more recycling, less trash, as well as improvements to redemption centers and ultimately more jobs in Massachusetts. Many activists view the failure of the Expanded Bottle bill as a victory for big beverage companies, who do not have public good in mind. They now face the challenge of gathering support for the rejected bill, which has yet to be adopted after 14 years.
The Expanded Bottle bill’s passing through the Massachusetts Senate was unexpected, leaving many people to speculate about the future of the bill. With the rejection from the Joint Conference Committee, the bill’s momentum was halted just as suddenly as it began last month. Opponents of the bill, specifically House Speaker Robert Deleo argued that the 5 cent deposit on more beverage containers meant more taxes on Massachusetts consumers. While supporters of the Expanded Bottle bill did not agree, ultimately it seems that corporate power was the factor that killed the bill for good.
The defeat of the Expanded Bottle bill means that curbside recycling will continue to be the main method of disposal. The defeat of the bill means that there will be no improvements to Massachusetts redemption centers, and that sports drinks, iced tea, and bottled water will still not be eligible for redemption
Water Not Quite Over the Dam
As BeCause Water is very disappointed in the outcome of the Bottle Bill, there is NO reason why grassroots organizations and other individuals can’t achieve the same end goal.
It is officially the Age of the Educated Consumer. We MUST be proactive in informing ourselves on key issues, EXPOSE green washing/corporate greed, and empower others to do the same.
- BONUS Video Coverage: Bottle Bill Rally (becausewater.com)