Senate Passes Updated Bottle Bill

For Immediate Release
July 23, 2012

BOSTON—The Updated Bottle Bill, which would expand the commonwealth’s 5-cent deposit on beer and soda containers to include water, juice and sports drinks, was passed by the Senate last week as an amendment to the Senate Jobs Bill, announced State Senator Jamie Eldridge, a strong supporter and co-sponsor of the bill.

“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 into law has been one of my top environmental priorities, and I’m so pleased that after 14 years, it was finally approved by the Senate last week,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge.

The Coalition for the Updated Bottle Bill, a group of advocacy organizations supporting the bill, released a report on Thursday which estimated that the Bay State would create or preserve over 1500 jobs by updating the state’s deposit system, which made it all the more relevant to the Jobs bill being debated.

“In the spirit of the upcoming Olympics, the Massachusetts Senate earned a gold medal when they passed the Updated Bottle Bill. The Senate is to be congratulated for passing the update, which is overwhelmingly popular with the public, small businesses, cities and towns, and a majority of state legislators. For 14 years, the bill has been stalled in various committees. Getting the Updated Bottle Bill through the Senate has now completely shifted the momentum toward victory,” added Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MassPIRG.

Despite enjoying support from 77% of the public in a recent MassINC poll, endorsements from 208 cities and towns, and the support of over 385 Mass businesses, the bill has been stuck for years and was never brought up for a vote in the Senate or House until last Thursday.

Eldridge noted that the bill has received strong support in his district. “More constituents have emailed, sent letters or called my office in support of this bill than in support of any other issue over the past four years,” he said. “Hundreds and hundreds have weighed in, asking for support and help in moving the Legislation through the Senate.”

The bill now goes to a conference committee, where the House and Senate will reconcile the different versions of the jobs bill passed by each body. Eldridge expressed hope that the House would agree to include the Updated Bottle Bill in the conference committee version of the Jobs bill.

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