The bottle bill campaign is taking off. A coalition of opponents to a ballot initiative that would expand the state's bottle deposit law released their first television ad Monday, funded by a $5 million donation from the American Beverage Association. Supporters of the ballot initiative say they cannot compete financially but will be relying on grassroots organization to get their message out.
Currently, consumers pay a 5-cent fee on soda and beer, which they get back if they recycle the can or bottle. The proposed ballot question, Question 2, would expand the law to impose the 5-cent deposit on bottled water, sports drinks, iced tea and most non-alcoholic, non-carbonated drinks other than milk. The ballot question would also allow for an automatic increase to the fee every five years, indexed to inflation. If a person does not recycle the can, the money goes back to the state, which means the expansion will also be a way to generate more money for the state.
Supporters of the expansion are mostly environmental groups, which say it will increase recycling rates. They say the drinks the law would target are those that simply were not on the market when the original bottle bill was passed in 1982. Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick also supports the expansion.