League of Women Voters Backs Updated Bottle Deposit Ballot Effort

8/7/13 BOSTON—The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts is asking voters to expand the deposit on single-serve beverage containers to non-carbonated beverages.

The League joined MassPIRG and the Sierra Club Wednesday in filing a request with the Massachusetts Attorney General to put the updated bottle deposit question on the ballot in November 2014 and will be working to collect the signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot.

The current five-cent deposit on carbonated beverages was enacted in 1982. Supporters of the ballot initiative argue that the deposit should be expanded to include such non-carbonated beverages as water, tea and sports drinks. They have been encouraging the legislature to make that change for over 14 years, but the legislation has failed to pass.

“This ballot initiative will give the citizens of Massachusetts the chance to update the bottle deposit law, and past polls have shown widespread support for an expanded deposit program,” said Anne Borg, co-president, League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. “Deposits encourage consumers to return bottles so they can be recycled instead of discarding them, reducing litter. Look around any playground and you see discarded water bottles, but few discarded soda cans. Expanding deposits will also reduce the costs to cities and towns to collect and dispose of trash that includes containers that should be recycled.”

“It makes no sense to have a deposit on a bottle of sparkling water but not a bottle of still water. Consumers can be easily confused about which bottles to take back for redemption and which to put in their recycling bins,” she said.

Supporters of the expanded bottle deposit initiative, including the League, will be collecting signatures this fall to put the question on the ballot.

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan political organization which encourages informed and active participation in government and works to increase understanding of major public policy issues. For additional information, see the website, www.lwvma.org.