Governor Deval Patrick's Budget Recommendation - House 1 Fiscal Year 2010

Governor's Budget Recommendation FY 2010

Expanded Bottle Bill

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Governor Patrick    FY2010 House 1 Budget Recommendation:
    Policy Brief

    Deval L. Patrick, Governor
    Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor


Governor’s Proposal

The Massachusetts Bottle Bill, enacted in 1982, is designed to encourage consumers to return their empty soda and beer containers by means of a redeemable $0.05 deposit. Its principal objective is to reduce litter and encourage recycling of aluminum cans and plastic and glass bottles. In the fiscal year 2010 budget, Governor Patrick proposes to expand the types of containers subject to the $0.05 deposit to include those containing water, flavored waters, coffee based drinks, juices and sports drinks of less than 1 gallon in size. This initiative will expand the market for recyclables and keep our towns clean while providing additional revenues for recycling and clean water programs.

What is the Bottle Bill?

The Massachusetts bottle bill places a $0.05 refundable deposit on all carbonated sodas, beer and malt beverages. Most bottle deposits are redeemed through two types of sites, redemption centers and large retail stores such as local grocery or package stores. Redemption centers are specialized small businesses that provide refunds for empty beverage containers before delivering them to bottlers/distributors. Large retailers often lease vending machines to manage redemptions by their customers. The leasing company delivers bottles to bottlers/distributors for payment, or may sell materials that are recyclable. Under 1989 reforms, bottlers/distributors must maintain a Deposit Transaction Fund for unclaimed deposits. These funds are transferred to the Department of Revenue each month and support government programs.

Why Expand the Bottle Bill?

Discarded cans and bottles are a major source of trash that impacts our communities while wasting precious natural resources and energy. When the Bottle Bill was enacted in 1982, the beverages covered by the law were limited to carbonated soft drinks, mineral water, beer and other malt beverages. Since that time, the beverage market has changed with bottled water, fruit drinks, iced tea and sports drinks now being some of the most popular choices available. Since 2000, non-carbonated beverages have experienced near double-digit growth and industry experts expect this trend to continue. However, these non-carbonated beverages are not covered by the Bottle Bill, and often end up in landfills or along the side of the road.

This chart depicts the growth of non-carbonated, carbonated and alcoholic beverage consumption from 2000 to 2005.   From 2000 to 2005 the rate of consumption for non-carbonated beverages (water, flavored waters, sports drinks) has nearly doubled.

By revising the definition of "beverages" in Outside Section 15 of the Governor's budget, the Bottle Bill can be brought up to date. This will reduce confusion among consumers about which beverages are eligible for redemption. Consumers will be required to pay an additional $0.05 cents on water, flavored waters, iced teas, coffee based drinks and sports drinks. With the additional revenue generated through this change, funds will be dedicated to Department of Environmental Protection recycling and solid waste management programs at $5 million, a 46% increase in funding from fiscal year 2009. Additionally, $10 million is provided for the Massachusetts Water and Sewer Rate Relief Fund, which allocates rate reductions to communities and residents served by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA).

Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance · Rooms 373 & 272 · State House
For more information contact:
Thomas Dugan (

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