Good morning, voters (and to a lesser extent, those shirking their civil duties out of laziness). I’m here this morning to continue our Clam the Vote series with question 2 this morning, otherwise known as the Bottle Bill. If you missed question 1 on the gas tax, read it here!
“Bottle bill” sounds like your drunk uncle’s nickname, but it’s a pretty interesting question.
The Bottle bill is basically this: We already have a 5 cent deposit on beer and soda cans and bottles. We’ve had it for 30 years. Back then, water bottles, sports drink bottles, iced teas, etc weren’t as popular as they are now. But now, they are – and they aren’t recycled as much as bottles with deposits. 80% of bottles with deposits are redeemed or recycled, versus 23% of bottles without deposits (according to the Massachusetts DEP). That’s a HUGE difference.
The pro-bottle bill argument is easy to understand: the environmental impact of all these plastic bottles being tossed away in the garbage, or littered about on highways, is getting larger. With a redemption fee, there’s far more incentive to return the bottles – by the purchaser or by someone else who collects cans that have been tossed aside. Other parts of the bottle bill include re-assigning the non-collected deposits to an environmentally-based fund instead of the state’s general slush fund, where they currently go, and upping the redemption handling fee for distributors.
Folks on the pro-bottle bill side bolster their position by citing a study by the Massachusetts DEP that states the expanded bottle bill would save about $1 per resident of the state in litter cleanup expenses.
Those who oppose the expansion of the bottle bill are mostly bottle companies (who have put 8.3 million into fighting question 2), and supermarkets. These bottle-collecting machines take up a grocery’s valuable retail space and they feel the extra deposit will eat into their beverage sales. As asn aside, I find it to be kind of gross and inappropriate that supermarkets like Market Basket are handing out political flyers against question 2, but what can you do?
The thing is, a supposed slight decrease in retail space (like, what, 10 square feet in a 10k+ foot store?) and a possible loss of a tiny percentage of bottle sales is not a good enough reason to oppose the expansion. There’s the angry “herf derf this is just a money grab for the state! People should recycle on their own!” Yeah, but they don’t. The statistics show that they don’t. It’s a money grab you can completely opt out of. And it’s necessary to keep all the freakin’ trash from us zoo-people off the side of highways and in parks and shit.
If it were up to me, it’d cover nip bottles as well, as this is truly a scourge plaguing our city.
This one seems pretty much like a no-brainer. Vote yes on 2, for fuck’s sake.