Next Tuesday Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to put litter in its place. Living and working in a coastal community, we are all too aware of the plastics ending up in our waterways. We’ve conducted many shoreline clean-ups at our headquarters on Rocky Neck in Gloucester, MA, and on area beaches, and one of the most common items we come across is plastic water bottles. What if Massachusetts residents had an incentive to collect those bottles and return them?
Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr often recounts a story of sitting on the beach in Rio, enjoying a beautiful sunset with a bottle of beer, when all of a sudden he realized his beer had disappeared. He turned and saw a boy running down the beach with his beer, not drinking it, but dumping it out. Why? Because the bottle was worth something to him—he would be turning it in for cash.
Currently in Massachusetts 80% of cans and bottles with a deposit on them are recycled and 23% without a deposit are not, despite what misleading ads may say. Question 2 would expand the “Bottle Bill” to include plastic water bottles, sports drinks and iced tea bottles. Anyone who has done a clean-up in a green space or shoreline knows how common it is to see these plastic bottles and a good portion of these will ultimately end up in our waterways. Let’s give residents the incentive to collect them.
Question 2 is our chance in Massachusetts to turn around the trend of plastics in our oceans, so we must do our part. Please join Ocean Alliance, Sierra Club Massachusetts, Mass Audubon Society and an extensive list of environmental groups from surfers to riverkeepers, along with Governor Deval Patrick, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, U.S. Representatives, mayors and state lawmakers from Boston to North Adams in voting Yes on 2.