By State Senator Jamie Eldridge
On Tuesday, November 4th, Massachusetts voters have the opportunity to improve the Bottle Bill, by voting “yes” on Question 2. Question 2 will make our parks, our streets, and our neighborhoods cleaner, by increasing recycling across Massachusetts. Litter will be reduced in every community by merely expanding a common-sense law, by adding a 5-cent deposit to bottled water and juices. By updating the Bottle Bill, we can make sure that whether you’re at home, walking outside, at work, running an errand or visiting friends or loved ones, you have the reassurance that bottled drinks will likely be recycled, and not add to litter in our community.
While it is true that there are more places to recycle in Massachusetts than there were decades ago, it’s also true that we’re a lot more mobile society than we were then. We need recycling programs that match the lifestyles of most Massachusetts residents, and provide more options for people to recycle. The expansion of curbside recycling to 47% of our communities is encouraging, but to suggest that this would take care of our recycling needs is to suggest that people spend all of their lives at home. And let’s remember that many municipal recycling programs are unavailable to people who lives in apartments or condos, limiting their ability to properly recycle bottles and cans from their homes.
Today, almost any event that you go to, there are bottled drinks. Away from home, at sports games, town fairs, at work, community meetings, and school events, you’re almost certain to see cases of bottled water. Yet despite this massive increase in plastic, glass and metal, Massachusetts hasn’t improved its recycling programs as much as is needed to keep our communities clean. The facts speak for themselves. 80% of bottles and cans with a deposit on them are recycled, while only 23% of bottles and cans without a deposit are recycled. If the Bottle Bill is improved, recycling will increase, and we’ll see less litter in our streets and neighborhoods, our parks and ballfields, and our lakes, rivers, and streams.
Finally, let’s remember why recycling is so important. In an era of more limited resources, everything that we can do as citizens to reduce our use of raw materials (oil, wood, etc.) is critical to protecting the environment. And more recycling in turn benefits the local economy, including recyclers and redemption centers hiring more employees, while also saving municipalities millions of dollars from having to store and handle these current bottles. Furthermore, improving the Bottle Bill will increase funding for municipal recycling programs, helping our communities becomes even cleaner.
By voting yes on Question 2, voters will be able to do their part to keep their communities clean.