This November, voters in Massachusetts will decide on the future of the Bottle Bill, whether to expand it with a new update or to leave the existing bill in place. Currently, the Massachusetts’s Bottle Bill, which was passed in 1982, places a five-cent deposit on all bottles that contain carbonated beverages as well as beer containers. All dealers of full containers must redeem the empty containers they sell at a five-cent minimum. This means that if you buy a bottle of ginger ale at your local grocery store, you can recycle it at the same store and get five cents back (within sixty days from your purchase). When the bill was passed in 1982, non-carbonated beverages were not a significant portion of the beverage industry, or they likely would have been included in the bill.
The update on the Bottle Bill would expand the five-cent deposit to include non-carbonated beverages sold in containers, such as water, tea, and sports drinks, by revising the definition of “beverages.” Propenents of the bill argue that it will decrease litter in Massachusetts because of the new incentive to recycle and thus save municipalities on costs from cleaning up litter. On the other hand, critics debate the effectiveness of expanding an aged system and whether it will truly cut costs.
What will you vote? Recycling is on the radar for this election, and it certainly is an attention worthy topic. Since this is the final day of Sustainability Week at Tufts, hopefully living sustainably has been on your mind. Perhaps you have contemplated what you can do to reduce your impact on the environment, especially as a student at Tufts. Waste reduction is a huge component of sustainability, as you may have learned at the Sustainability Dinner at Dewick on Wednesday night. Although often it may seem that we have unlimited space which we can fill up with waste, that space is in fact limited and getting smaller daily. Recycling is one method to help minimize the effect that our waste has on the environment and Massachusetts will even compensate you for your pro-active recycling! So make sure that you toss your beverage bottle into the nearest blue recycling bin for glass, metals, and plastics found in many convenient locations Tufts campus.