As experts in environmental protection, public health, conservation, water quality and waste reduction, we are unanimous in our opposition to House Bill 646, entitled the “Universal Recycling Law.” While that title sounds appealing, the bill does three things, all of which we reject:
- it repeals the long-effective 5¢ refundable container deposit,
- it initiates a 1¢ tax on distributors and wholesalers, which is supposed to fund a huge program that cannot possibly be supported by that revenue, and
- it provides for the tax to only last three years, with no solution for the future.
This bill is a thinly veiled attempt to let big beverage companies off the hook completely, and saddle the rest of us with more beverage container litter and trash.
The fact remains that the single most effective recycling tool we have in Massachusetts is the 5¢ refundable container deposit. Approximately 70% of containers with a deposit are recycled, compared to 23% of containers without a deposit. The same beverage companies and big retailers who want to shirk the responsibility for beverage container litter and trash have been working to repeal the deposit system for years; this bill is simply their ‘cover’ for doing so.
We are all supporters of the refundable deposit, and we know from 30+ years of its track record of success that if the deposits were expanded to cover water, juice and other on-the-go containers, we’d reduce litter, divert trash, and increase recycling across the state. H646 should be rejected, and more serious and fact-based recycling policies should be advanced.
Clean Water Action
Susan Collins, Jenny Gitlitz
Container Recycling Institute
Environmental League of Massachusetts
League of Women Voters of Massachusetts
Emily Norton, Allison Leary
Massachusetts Sierra Club
Samantha Gibb, Shawna Upton
South Shore Recycling Cooperative
Toxics Action Center Campaigns
Executive Director, MASSPIRG
Janet has been the executive director of MASSPIRG since 1990 and directs programs on consumer protection, zero waste, health and safety, public transportation, and voter participation. Janet has co-founded or led coalitions, including Earth Day Greater Boston, Campaign to Update the Bottle Bill and the Election Modernization Coalition. On behalf of MASSPIRG, Janet was one of the founding members of Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA), a statewide coalition of organizations advocating investment in mass transit to curb climate change, improve public health and address equity. Janet serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Consumer Federation of America and serves on the Common Cause Massachusetts executive committee, Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow board of directors, and Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Advisory Committee. For her work, Janet has received Common Cause’s John Gardner Award and Salem State University’s Friend of the Earth Award. Janet lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and two sons, and every Wednesday morning she slow-runs the steps at Harvard Stadium with the November Project.