MASSPIRG urges better recycling in the Commonwealth
Imagine Fenway Park, filled to the brim with water and Gatorade bottles.
According to Angelica Carey, a sophomore Biology major at the University of Massachusetts, this is around the amount of plastic bottles that could be recycled in Massachusetts every year, but are not.
Carey is a secretary for the UMass chapter of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) an organization involved in grassroots efforts with issues such as identity theft, political corruption and strengthening voter’s rights. This semester, Carey is the lead coordinator of a project designed to promote more recycling in the Commonwealth.
MASSPIRG is holding a kickoff event this Wednesday Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Commonwealth room, on the first floor of the Student Union located on the UMass campus. The event will be open to the public and assists with MASSPIRG’s main goal of this semester; to improve a bill of which the MASSPIRG organization was instrumental in passing during 1983, known as the Bottle Bill.
The Bottle Bill created the $0.05 deposit on soda and beer cans that provides an extra incentive to recycle. Cans covered under the bottle bill are 70 percent more likely to be recycled.
According to Carey the bill needs to be updated because of the 27-year interval brings on cultural and packaging changes with the system.
“Thirty years ago, no one really paid attention to how much water they were drinking, and Gatorade wasn’t around yet,” Carey said. “Water bottles and Gatorade bottles now make up 80 percent of plastic bottles today, but they aren’t covered under the bill.”
In order to pass a new Bottle Bill, MASSPIRG is building public support on and off the UMass campus to show the Massachusetts legislature that there is wide support for a more robust Bottle Bill.
Students at UMass have already been organizing. They have collected signed water bottles to give to Mass. State Senator Stan Rosenberg to show student support. They are also setting up meetings in local cities and towns to join the 120 cities and towns already endorsing the Bottle Bill.
Conflict is expected to arise from other interest groups due to the increased costs of sorting and recycling. Carey, however, said she remains hopeful. “It’s a really exciting challenge,” she said. “Hopefully, it will have a great victory. It’s great to be a part of it.”
Ted Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.