Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
The Honorable Jeffrey N. Roy, House Chair
The Honorable Michael J. Barrett, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy
State House, Boston
Dear Chair Roy, Chair Barrett, and Distinguished Members of the Committee,
On behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association would like to offer strong support for H. 3690 and S. 2104, An Act to Expand the Bottle Bill. This legislation would relieve municipalities from a significant financial and environmental burden by reducing the volume of solid waste generated in Massachusetts. The immediate results of passing this legislation would benefit local taxpayers — providing cleaner roads and parks and creating substantial savings for city and town budgets.
Since 1983, the Massachusetts Bottle Bill has provided an incentive for consumers to recycle certain beverage containers. The initial financial incentive, a 5-cent deposit on containers when returned by the consumer, has not been increased since the bill’s passage. H. 3690 and S. 2104 would update the bottle bill by raising the deposit to 10 cents to reinvigorate the deposit return system. This change would motivate consumers to participate in the system and reduce strain on municipal solid waste and recycling management programs, helping to clean our environment and divert materials from traditional solid waste streams.
The expansion of eligible materials is also a necessary step to address litter and plastic pollution across the Commonwealth. The original bottle bill was narrow in its approach; the existing system does not include many “new age” containers that could be captured, such as water bottles, sports drinks, miniatures, etc. These bills would address this by promoting reuse and recycling of an expanded list of eligible beverage containers. According to a report released in 2022, up to 95% of beverage containers could be captured through redemption with an updated bottle bill in Massachusetts, compared to the 42% of materials currently eligible. Other states, including Oregon and Michigan, have successfully updated their bottle bills, resulting in increased redemption rates and a reduction of materials entering the waste stream.
In addition, this legislation would reinstate the Clean Environment Fund, which historically held unclaimed bottle bill deposits to support recycling, composting, solid waste reduction, and bottle bill-related programming. The fund was later dismantled, and unclaimed deposits were absorbed into the state’s General Fund. Today, local officials continue to operate recycling initiatives and solid waste management programs with less assistance and rising demands. The reinstatement of the CEF is a common-sense fix as cities and towns face extraordinary costs to manage waste and recycling requirements. Reestablishing the CEF would replenish investment in infrastructure, new technologies and programming, and further protect our environment by decreasing the total volume of municipal solid waste that needs to be collected.
The MMA is pleased to support this legislation. H. 3690 and S. 2104 would provide relief for municipal budgets, save landfill space, reduce roadside litter, and spur residents, businesses and commercial entities to recycle statewide. We respectfully request that the Committee give the measures a favorable report. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to have your office contact me or MMA Legislative Analyst Josie Ahlberg at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
Thank you very much for your consideration and support of local government.
Geoffrey C. Beckwith
MMA Executive Director & CEO