Expanded Bottle Bill

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Governor Patrick    FY2011 House 2 Budget Recommendation:
    Issues in Brief

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


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 2011 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 one gallon in size. This initiative will expand the market for recyclables, keep our cities and towns clean and provide additional revenues for recycling programs.

What is the Bottle Bill?

The Massachusetts bottle bill places a $0.05 refundable deposit on all carbonated sodas, beer and malt beverages.  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 in our communities and waste 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.

The chart displays Massachusetts beverage consumption estimates, by type of beverage, for the years 2000, 2005 and 2009, breaking out the type of beverage by non-carbonated, carbonated and alcoholic. The graphic illustrates the rapid growth in non-carbonated beverage consumption.  In 2000, The consumption estimates are 794,000 non-carbonated, 1,282,00 carbonated and 786,000 alcoholic. In 2005 consumption estimates are 1,551,000 non-carbonated, 1,341,000 carbonated and 894,000 alcoholic. And in 2009 consumption estimates are 1,603,000 non-carbonated, 1,420,000 carbonated and 947,000 alcoholic.

By revising the definition of “beverages” in Outside Section 20 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 on water, flavored waters, iced teas, coffee based drinks and sports drinks.

The expansion of the Bottle Bill will generate an estimated $20 million in new revenue, $5 million of which will be dedicated to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) recycling and solid waste management programs. EEA will utilize this funding for the following efforts:

Prepared by Sarah Glassman, Executive Office for Administration and Finance ·
For more information contact: contactanf@massmail.state.ma.us (617) 727-2040