Massachusetts residents care deeply about the environment and are some of the most avid recyclers in the nation. The state’s recycling infrastructure has fallen behind, however, and is in need of an upgrade. The current forced-deposit system is antiquated and does not take advantage of the latest technologies and efficiencies that have been developed in the 33 years since the state’s forced-deposit law was imposed.

Massachusetts lawmakers have the opportunity to change this and modernize recycling in Massachusetts with a new proposal House Bill 646, “An Act Improving Recycling in the Commonwealth,” sponsored by Sen. Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) and Rep. Mark J. Cusack (D-Braintree).

House Bill 646 would create a separate fund of money that communities can use to establish comprehensive recycling programs. Such programs would make recycling easier for residents and businesses alike, and would boost the amount of materials that are reused rather than tossed away.

The money for this comprehensive recycling bill would come from a one-cent per container fee assessed to the producers and distributors of beverages in the state. This fund would replace the current bottle deposit law, an old idea that has kept Massachusetts from establishing state-of-the-art, widespread curbside recycling adopted by other states.

House Bill 646 contains similarities to a proposal enacted in Delaware in 2010, which has brought the state’s recycling rate to an all-time high.

The beverage industry supported that change because we want all of our containers to be reused and support the most effective, state-of-the-art recycling systems available.

Tomorrow, legislators will hold a hearing on this forward-thinking proposal to bring recycling in Massachusetts into the modern era. We encourage them to do away with the current expensive, out-of-date forced-deposit law in favor of a comprehensive, convenient recycling system that will benefit the citizens of Massachusetts and the planet.

To learn more about House Bill 646, click here.