Bottle Bill Dies in Legislature; Goes Before Voters Nov. 4

Supporters of an expanded bottle recycling law will have to wait for a November ballot initiative after the legislature killed attempts to pass it with the new state budget.

Last week, a group gathered on the steps of the secretary of state’s office to announce completion of an initiative petition signature drive to update the state’s bottle bill. Proponents delivered more than 19,000 signatures Wednesday to Secretary Galvin’s office. Once the signatures are validated, the measure is certified to appear before the voters on Nov. 4. If passed, the ballot question would extend the current nickel deposit on soda and beer to other single serving containers like water, juices and sports drinks.

“The people of Massachusetts have spoken loud and clear, over a number of years, that they want less litter and more recycling; they want the Updated Bottle Bill. In the World Cup of legislation, our elected officials let this goal go right through their legs. We did our best to work through Beacon Hill, now it’s up to the voters,” said Janet Domenitz, executive director of MASSPIRG.

Neither Haverhill’s state representatives nor senator were listed as sponsoring the bottle bill. The proposed law would have expanded the 30-year-old law. Andover was the only town in WHAV’s coverage area to join with more than 200 other communities in expressing support for the law.

The Massachusetts Senate approved the expanded bottle bill as an amendment to a jobs and economic development bill, but the House did not take up the consideration of the law.