Updated Bottle Bill Campaign Achieves Majority in Legislature, Cancels Ballot Initiative

See below for the latest update on the campaign to pass the Bottle Bill from the Environmental League of Massachusetts.  As part of the Coalition that supports the bill, we will no longer work to collect signatures for the ballot initiative, but will work with other organizations to pass the bill in the legislature.  Now that there is a majority of legislators who support the bill, if the bill is brought to a vote, it has a very good chance of passing.

The Campaign for an Updated Bottle Bill (which includes the Friends of the Blue Hills) announced yesterday that it has now reached a majority of state legislators in support of an updated bottle bill. As a result, the coalition will press ahead with the pending legislative bill and forgo the initiative petition process.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming support of the public – a recent MassINC Polling Group showed 77% of the public in favor of the  bill – as well as the support of municipal leaders from 200 cities and towns across the Commonwealth, including Boston’s Mayor Menino. On July 20, over 300 people trekked to a public hearing to support the bill in the State House. Given this mandate both inside and outside the State House, we now believe the best strategy to update the most successful recycling program in the state is in the legislature,”  said James McCaffrey, Director of Sierra Club of Massachusetts.

On August 3, supporters of the Updated Bottle Bill, H1650/S1480, a bill which would add water, juice, and similar containers to the existing container deposit law, filed an initiative petition with the Attorney General’s office to preserve the option of putting the proposed law to the voters in November 2012. That petition was certified by the Attorney General earlier this month and provided the additional momentum inside the legislature.

“This is a win, win, win proposal,” commented Rep. Alice Wolf, chief House sponsor of the bill. “This bill will reduce litter, increase recycling, and save cities and towns money in disposal and litter pick-up. I know many members of the House and Senate want these wins, and I know Governor Patrick wants to see this bill on his desk as soon as possible.”

The updating of the bottle bill has the strong support of the Patrick administration. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Ken Kimmell added, “Every year across Massachusetts, more than 30,000 tons of noncarbonated beverage bottles are buried in landfills, burned in waste-to-energy plants, or tossed onto our streets, parks and beaches. That’s enough plastic bottles to fill Fenway Park … five times. ”

(Photo taken by: James DeMaggio)

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