Cambridge lawmaker helps lead effort to expand Mass. bottle bill
By William J. Dowd
State lawmakers appear poised to breathe new life into what many characterize as Massachusetts’s lackluster bottle deposit law.
Four decades have elapsed since the State Legislature enacted the bottle bill, a policy designed to incentivize consumers to return empty carbonated containers through five-cent deposits. The nickel deposit per container, however, is often cited as too little coin to motivate people toward redemption.
And the numbers, perhaps, reflect consumers’ apathy: A Reloop North America study on the Northeast’s bottle-deposit systems notes Massachusetts’ return rate has declined over the past dozen years from a high of 71% in 2010 to a low of 43% in 2020. The latter percentage makes the Bay State the caboose among states with bottle deposit programs.