For those living in certain recycling-forward states, there areset bottle deposit laws in place. While drinking from a bottle may cost an extra $.05 up front, there’s an opportunity to cash in once its contents are emptied. This also means finding empty plastic bottles is like finding a group of lost nickels, just waiting for a new owner. However, for the citizens of Massachusetts, not all bottles are included within the law. Most noticeably, water bottles under 24 ounces are omitted from repayment.
The lack of inclusion, however, has greatly reduced the number of water bottles that are recycled within the state. Instead, said senator Cynthia Creem, the bottles are littered and left to pollute public areas such as parks and lakes. Creem’s solution to the problem? Do away with the plastic water bottles altogether. Her ban, proposed just earlier this month, gives the state an ultimatum: include water bottles in the deposit laws, or outlaw them – ensuring that pollution levels with be reduced in either scenario.
Back in the 1970s, when Mass’s bottle deposit law was first introduced, plastic water bottles were not yet available. Under the law, certain definitions and specifications were given, excluding what would later be massed produced to distribute water. Since the popularization of small plastic bottles, several attempts have been made to try and change the law’s guidelines. However, none have been successful, leaving the original law still intact.
According to Creem, the numbers are adding up; one-third of all bottles solid in the state are withheld from deposit regulations. Of these bottles, only 22 percent see the inside of a recycling plant. As for bottles that are included in the deposit return, 80 percent are recycled.
Whether or not her law is passed, Creem said it’s important to bring attention to the matter, helping to eliminate the amount of waste consumers use each year.
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