Friday, November 22, 2013

Successful Signature Drive to Update the Bottle Bill

On the heels of America Recycles Day (Nov. 15th), we just got word from our friends at the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) that the signature drive to Update the Bottle Bill was a success!  For over 10 years, organizations such as ELM,  the Sierra Club and of course, the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, have been urging the Mass. legislature to put the Update to a vote.  The legislature fails to do this each year, so a citizen's initiative to get the Update on the 2014 ballot was the next step.  This would be no easy task, however, since we needed to get 100,000 petition signatures in about 3 weeks.

The collaborative network of 100+ organizations did not get 100,000 signatures-- we got 130,000!  This great news means that the Bottle Bill initiative will proceed to another smaller and easier signature drive in May, then it will go on the Nov. 2014 ballot.  

Not sure what the Bottle Bill is?  Here's a summary from our friends at the Massachusetts Sierra Club:

"The Bottle Bill is the state's most successful recycling and litter prevention program. Since the Bottle Bill's passage in 1983, over 35 billion containers have been redeemed, contributing to a healthier environment, cleaner and safer communities, and a stronger economy.

An Updated Bottle Bill would expand our container deposit system to include "new age" drinks such as non-carbonated beverages, water, iced tea, juice, and sports drinks which are currently not covered. It would decrease litter and increase recycling. An estimated 3.3 Billion beverages are consumed annually in Massachusetts, of which 1/3 are "new-age" (e.g. water, sports drinks, flavored teas), and this number is only expected to increase. As consumers purchase more of these beverages, an increasing number of containers are finding their way to landfills and by the sides of our roads. To keep up with the times and consumers' tastes, the bottle bill must be updated.

Every year that we delay action, 1.5 BILLION containers litter our parks and our streets, or get trucked to our landfills -- more than enough to overflow Fenway Park.

Despite huge public support, the legislature has failed to act for over 10 years. We've therefore decided to put this on the ballot.

Read more about the Bottle Bill at"
Member communication authorized by the Massachusetts Sierra Club

Thanks to all our members who participated in the signature drive and to those who signed petitions.  The Dracut Garden Club helped collect almost 200 signatures!  It was as simple as asking family, friends, & neighbors, and a couple of us petitioned outside of Market Basket in Lowell : )  When 2014 rolls arounds, you can bet we'll be helping to "get out the vote" for next November's election.  To stay informed or get involved, please check out the Massachusetts Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill.


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