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That ‘ideal world’ is now: Expand the bottle bill, lawmakers

Discarded "nip" bottles lay behind a park bench in Hyde Park's Cleary Square.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Re “Nipping litter in the bud” (May 30): Your editorial recommending that the City of Boston ban the sale of miniature bottles of alcohol, or “nips,” reads: “Sure, in an ideal world the Legislature would expand the bottle bill. But Massachusetts residents overwhelmingly rejected a referendum in 2014 that would do so.” Before we pass on this particular path to the ideal world, consider: Voters rejected the expansion of the bottle bill — almost 10 years ago, by the way — in part because the bottlers spent almost $10 million promising “better, more efficient ways to increase recycling.” They aired a slew of TV ads that flat out lied, saying that 90 percent of people had curbside recycling so there was no need for a bottle bill expansion. The facts: That figure included drop-off recycling. But so-called free speech for (expensive) commercial advertising prevailed.

Meanwhile, what have those big beverage companies done to improve recycling? Our beverage container litter and waste problem has only gotten worse.


It’s become increasingly clear that the more stuff we produce and throw away, the worse the climate gets. Trash and waste in landfills and incinerators, including plastics, are considered contributors to climate change.

It’s not often that steps to an ideal world are so simple and straightforward. We hope the Legislature will pass the bottle bill expansion and get us closer to it.

Janet S. Domenitz

Executive director

Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group

MassPIRG Education Fund