First the Town of Concord passed a plastic water bottle bill, and now the rest of the state is trying to jump on board.
In a sign that the Updated Bottle Bill has gained greater momentum for passage than ever this session, 95 legislators signed on as a co-sponsor of the Updated Bottle Bill earlier this week, including half of the Massachusetts State Senate.
“More than ever, legislators realize that the time to act and finally pass the Updated Bottle Bill is now,” State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, a strong supporter and co-sponsor of the bill, said in a release. “Updating the Bottle Bill is a common sense law that would help increase recycling and reduce litter in our parks, along our roads and in our streams. Passing this bill has been one of my top environmental priorities and it is encouraging to see that the majority of legislators are rallying together to express their strong support for this important piece of recycling legislation.”
“I’m heartened that so many of my colleagues have joined me this session in support of an Updated Bottle Bill, and I’m optimistic that we’ll pass this bill soon and protect our environment from the scourge of plastic that is permeating our environment,” said State Rep. Tom Conroy (D-Wayland), a co-sponsor who shares a portion of Eldridge’s district.
Adding to the bill’s surge of momentum, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan recently proposed an increase in the bottle bill handling fee. This handling fee is what the bottling industry pays at redemption centers, grocery stores and other businesses for collecting and transporting bottles and cans for recycling. For years, bottle redemption centers, small, family-owned businesses that are a key part of making the bottle bill work, have been asking for an increase in this fee, which has stood at 2.25 cents for over 20 years. Raising the handling fee establishes a greater financial incentive for redemption centers and provides more places for consumers to turn in their bottles and collect the deposit fees.