BOSTON — On Beacon Hill, lawmakers are considering expanding the bottle bill. About 100 people, including more than a dozen state representatives, rallied in front of the State House on July 25, calling on the House to agree to an amendment that would expand the state's bottle deposit law to other bottled beverages, including water, juice and iced tea.
At the rally, Phil Sego, spokesperson of the Massachusetts Sierra Club, said the expansion would reduce litter and the number of bottles in landfills.
"Right now we’re sending 1.3 billion empty bottles to the dump," he said. "Some are being littered. That’s putting a huge strain and it’s really sending out resources where we don’t want to send them.”
However, Chris Flynn, president of the Massachusetts Food Association, which represents the grocery and supermarket industry, said the expansion would overwhelm grocery stores and be a costly operation for their owners.
"The problem you have here is that in order to take these additional containers, which come in different shapes and sizes than the ones in the current system, you’re going to have to reconfigure machines and have additional machines, and that comes at a high cost. Particularly for small stores and operators that really don’t have the room for it," he said.
Senate President Therese Murray and other Senate members recently supported the amendment, adding it to a bill designed to promote job creation. House Speaker Robert DeLeo staunchly opposes it, calling it an added tax on consumers. The fate of the proposal is now in the hands of a six-member House-Senate conference committee.