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October 10, 2011 Letter To The Editor

Expanding Bottle Bill Will Be Costly

The recent op-ed by James McCaffrey (“Time To Update The Bottle Bill,” Sept. 12, 2011) ignores several important facts about the costs of expanding the state’s bottle bill — costs that greatly outweigh the benefits.

This expensive proposal would have virtually no environmental impact — increasing the state’s recycling rate by a mere 0.12 percent. There are other ways to expand recycling, such as making it more accessible in public places. Businesses should be responsible and proactive about recycling, and many are. But they and their consumers should not be forced to bear additional costs for an ineffective system.

While Mr. McCaffrey claims that an expanded bottle bill will save taxpayers $7 million a year, other supporters tout that it will raise about $20 million a year in state revenue by adding a 5-cent fee to bottled water, juices, iced tea, and sports drinks — a huge added cost to consumers.

As a restaurant owner, I would see profound effects of this expansion on my business. I currently recycle all my beer bottles, which take up enormous storage space. Including other bottles would cause most restaurants great hardship.

Expanding the bottle bill will also put good-paying jobs at risk. New York State lost jobs after passing a more limited expansion of their bottle bill in 2009. And local Massachusetts unions oppose it, including beverage container machinists.

Expanding the bottle bill will cost taxpayers and put jobs at risk, with no measureable environmental impact.

Paul Barber, Owner
Flying Rhino Café, Worcester

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