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'The time is right'

Legislation's backers see real chance for bottle bill expansion

Southbridge resident Howard Hall redeems his cartload of cans and bottles at Big Bunny Monday night. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
February 01, 2010
Like some creature in a zombie film, a proposal to expand the bottle bill is alive again on the Legislative agenda.

It has been repeatedly proposed for years, but this time supporters argue it has a better chance to pass.

"We feel positive about it," said MassRecycle Coordinator Jessica Wozniak. "It feels like the time is right and things are aligned to make it happen, but we're not sure."

The bill, H. 3515, expands the definition of acceptable beverages to cover "noncarbonated beverages including mineral water, flavored and unflavored water, vitamin water and other water beverages, tea, sports drinks, isotonic drinks; beer and other malt beverages; and all other non-alcoholic carbonated and noncarbonated drinks in liquid form … except milk and beverages that are primarily derived from dairy products, infant formula and FDA-approved medicines." Such containers, if less than 125 ounces in volume, would have a 5-cent refund plus a 3.25-cent handling fee.

Since being filed in Jan. 2009, the bill has amassed 51 House cosponsors, the closest being Geraldo Alicea (D-Charlton) and Jennifer Callahan (D-Sutton). It faced an October hearing before the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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