Bottle bill expansion may make ballot in Massachusetts

Bottle bill expansion may make ballot in Massachusetts

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Massachusetts voters may get a chance over the next year to decide whether to expand the state's bottle bill — unless lawmakers approve updated legislation first.

An environmentalist-led group announced it has secured far more than the 69,000 required signatures necessary to push the initiative toward a referendum in the fall. The state legislature has until early May to vote on the expansion, and if lawmakers shoot it down or fail to act, a second, smaller signature-collection effort would be required to put the question to voters.

The legislation would bring plastic water bottles as well a range of other non-alcoholic beverage containers into the state's current 5-cent container redemption system, which currently covers soda and beer containers. The expansion would also allow the deposit amount to increase based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index.

Massachusetts passed its bottle bill in 1981, with a measure to repeal it actually making its way to the ballot the following year, though residents voted the effort down. In recent years, the Massachusetts Senate has approved legislation that would expand the bill to more containers, but in both instances it was not passed by the House.

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