Metro

Tough new ad opposes bottle bill expansion

The campaign opposed to a ballot initiative to expand the state’s beverage container deposit law is out today with a tough TV spot, decrying the “forced deposits” and saying it would increase grocery costs.

“It means higher prices on juice, water, iced tea, soda and much more,” a male narrator says in the ad, which is unusually long at 60 seconds. “And, if you don’t return your used containers to the store — politicians get to keep your money.”

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The group opposing the question, No on Question 2: Stop Forced Deposits, is well-funded, with about $5 million in donations from the American Beverage Association, according to filings with the state’s campaign finance agency.

A spokeswoman for the ballot group, Nicole Giambusso, said the spot began airing on broadcast TV today and will ultimately move to cable as well.

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The group supporting the initiative, Coalition for an Updated Bottle Bill, blasted the ad and said it hoped voters wouldn’t be fooled by big money from big beverage companies.

The Coalition released a web advertisement, arguing that passing Question 2 would help reduce litter.

An August Boston Globe poll found that 62 percent of likely voters support expanding the law, 27 percent oppose it, and 10 percent are undecided. With a big advertising push however, that could change.

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Question 2 would expand the state’s mandatory 5-cent container deposit beyond soda, beer, malt beverages and sparkling water containers to drink categories not currently covered, such as bottled water and sports drinks. Among other changes, it would also require the deposit amount to be adjusted with inflation every five years.

Proponents say the expansion would encourage more recycling, reduce litter and save municipalities money on litter clean-up costs. Opponents say it would increase costs and expand an outdated and ineffective bottle redemption system.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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