Get 5 cents and save the planet while you’re at it

The states of New York, Connecticut and Maine have expanded their bottle bills.

The movement to expand the bottle bill to include a 5-cent deposit on water, sports drinks and other beverages is gaining momentum, with more than 160 cities and towns passing a resolution in support of the measure.

Last week, the Boston City Council voted to back the bill, following in the footsteps of Brookline, which approved the resolution in March. The bill has been languishing on Beacon Hill since it was introduced in 1996 and is awaiting a hearing date for this legislative session.

Gov. Deval Patrick has also come out in favor of the bill, claiming the deposit will motivate more people to recycle and save cities and towns millions of dollars in disposal costs annually. Currently, water, juice and sports drinks make up more than 30 percent of the state’s beverage consumption, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

However, several groups are against the proposed law, including the Massachusetts Food Association, which represents supermarkets. The association argues it is costly and a health concern to bring additional used bottles that contain waste and other bacteria into food stores.

“Members tell us about finding liquid in the cans, vermin, bugs, needles — all sorts of things that aren’t conducive to running a food store,” said Chris Flynn, president of the Massachusetts Food Association.


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