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Bottle Bill Dies in Conference Committee

Legislators decide to take the bottle bill amendment — which would expand the kinds of bottles that can be recycled for cash — out of the jobs act.

Bottle Bill Dies in Conference Committee Bottle Bill Dies in Conference Committee Bottle Bill Dies in Conference Committee Bottle Bill Dies in Conference Committee Bottle Bill Dies in Conference Committee

The bottle bill will not make it to the governor's desk this year.

The controversial proposal was included as an amendment to the  Senate jobs bill but scrapped Monday in conference committee, according to an aide to its sponsor, Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth). The jobs bill is expected to be laid before Gov. Deval Patrick Tuesday, the last day of the legislative session.

The amendment had faced strong opposition in the House, with Speaker Robert DeLeo describing it as a tax. Hedlund disputed this view, saying that taxes can't be redeemed. 

The expansion to the 31-year-old law designed to promote recycling and reduce litter would have added plastic bottles used for water, juices, iced tea and sports drinks to the list of containers subject to the 5-cent bottle deposit. Under the law, these types of containers carry a 5-cent redeemable deposit that can be collected when they are returned to the store or a redemption center. 

Opponents said the bill would have increased costs for businesses and consumers. Supporters, including environmental groups, said it would have encouraged more recycling.

The governor has said that the state could collect up to $58 million a year on unredeemed bottles, and that the program cuts the cost to city of recycling the bottles.

Supporters of expanding the bottle bill have pushed the issue for more than a decade, according to a brief history from the Massachusetts Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill.

Opponent Chris Flynn of the Massachusetts Food Association argued in a recent Globe editorial that the bill is anti-business and "anti-Massachusetts."

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