Lawmakers To Consider Deposits On More Bottled Drinks

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – By the time he redeems boxes and bags of bottles and cans at the Waltham Redemption Center, Angel expects as much as twenty dollars from the nickel deposits.

“It keeps everything cleaner and it fully recycles all the materials,” he said.

Under the state’s thirty year old bottle bill consumers are charged five cents on carbonated beverages like soft drinks, mineral water, beer and other malt beverages, and it’s been confusing.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports

“They’re bringing in water, juices, milk and we have to say no, no, no, We throw it away,” said Michelle McLean of the redemption center.

But bills to update and expand the deposit fees to include juices, sports drinks and water will get a hearing on Beacon Hill Wednesday. Advocates say it’s time for an update since these kinds of bottles were not so plentiful even ten years ago.

“I think you would get more people to redeem bottles and cans than what they currently do,” said Nicole McAllister, shopping at Omni Foods in Weston.

But grocers like Suren Avidisian, Omni’s manager, says it became a difficult situation with people basically bringing their trash to a food store. He had to invest in an outside recycling bin at a cost, and believes the five cent deposit is just a tax since many put the cans to the curb and the state gets the nickel.

“It’s a noble attempt to try to get recycling, but in reality, these plastic containers, by a large percentage, are already being recycled through curbside recycling,” he said.

The debate has been waged before on Beacon Hill with little movement. Lawmakers will try again Wednesday with hearings on as many as twenty bills.

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