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Backers of bottle referendum want foes’ ads removed from TV

Supporters of a ballot question that would expand the state’s bottle law are urging television stations across Massachusetts to remove their opponents’ ads, calling them “false or misleading.”

In a letter to the stations, the Yes on Question 2 coalition argued that the ads violate federal guidelines that ban inaccurate or deceptive advertising.

“The purpose of these ads is to trick voters and scare them into voting no,” said Janet Domenitz, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, which has sought to expand the bottle law for years.

“I expect the next thing their ads will say is that the cow jumped over the moon,” she said.


She said the TV ads are inaccurate because they claim 90 percent of state residents have access to curbside recycling, when she said official state figures show that only 47 percent of the state’s cities and towns offer municipal curbside recycling. [That is true, said Edmund J. Colletta Jr., spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, but the number of residents in those municipalities who have access to curbside recycling totals 63 percent of the state’s population.]

Domenitz said the ads also suggest that unclaimed nickels would go to waste, when they would be designated to support environmental programs, if the question passes.

By depicting a gallon-sized milk container, she added, the ads suggest wrongly that dairy products would be subject to an expanded bottle law.

Nicole Giambusso, a spokeswoman for the No on Question 2 coalition, defended the ads without responding to the specific allegations.

“All of our information is backed up by facts,” she said. “This is just a tactic by our opponents to distract voters.”

She added: “Voters should be free to take all facts into account, so that they can make an informed decision.”

David Abel can be reached at dabel@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @davabel.