Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Why Measure 2 to Expand the Bottle Bill Failed in Massachusetts

I think it's stupid that if you buy a carbonated beverage in a can or bottle you have to put down a nickel deposit, but if you buy water or juice in the same container you don't. So I was initially in favor of Question 2, the Massachusetts ballot initiative to expand the bottle bill. Then I thought about the six months' worth of cans I need to back to the store and run through the machine to get my nickels back. It would be so much easier just to put them in curbside recycling.

And then I read the fine print, which wanted to peg the nickel to inflation so that it will go up to 6 cents, then 7 cents, and on and on. I lived in Michigan for 3 years under the 10 cent deposit regime, and am still bitter about that 30 years later. Then, in the voting booth, I read some more fine print that the minimum handling fee would be pegged at 3½ cents. In other words, 70% of the nickel deposit would be lost to handling fees.

I was not alone, the expanded bottle bill failed 26.6% to 73.4%. I still think the distinction between the different beverages is stupid. If the bottlers put up a question to repeal the entire bottle bill, I'll probably vote for it.

Another ballot idea whose time may not have come, at least in Colorado and quite likely Oregon, is mandatory labeling for GMO food products. The idea is to force food makers to stamp the words "Genetically Engineered" on all the scary Frankenfoods. Of course, we already have voluntary non-GMO labeling. I bought this bag of these All Natural Non-GMO Verified Certified Gluten-Free American Vegetarian Association 0 Grams Trans Fat corn chips to watch the election results come in:

Speaking of the results not coming in, there were a number of close races in New England. My favorite was Massachusetts Governor candidate Martha Coakley calling it a night without conceding even though she was trailing by 30,000 plus votes and all the media outlets had called the race. Instead of a concession speech, the local TV broadcast the union guys dismantling the stage as the room emptied out at the Coakley campaign victory party.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As this article rightly points out, an expanded bottle bill would most certainly cost consumers – in both the near and longer term, as deposit amounts escalate. This also would have adversely impacted businesses, and added costly infrastructure. In other words, the defeat of this bill was absolutely warranted. With this vote, commonwealth residents sent a message that it’s time to move forward and expand convenient, comprehensive recycling programs, so that Massachusetts can become the recycling leader that it should be.

-American Beverage Association