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A bottle bill is a law that places a minimum deposit on recyclable beverage containers. Depending on the state or country that has the bottle bill, different types of containers may have a deposit placed on them. The incentive of a bottle bill is that the consumer will receive the deposit back if the container is returned, thus increasing the amount of containers being recycled. Currently, ten states and all ten provinces Canadian provinces have bottle bills, as well as a number of countries in Europe. In 2002, Hawaii became the first state since 1986 to pass a Bottle Bill law.

In Massachusetts, the Bottle Bill was enacted in 1982. The bottle bill currently covers beer and other malt beverages, carbonated soft drinks and mineral water containers to be redeemed for a deposit. The bottle bill has thus far significantly reduced litter and increased recycling rates in the state. There is however, room for improvement, especially in that more types of containers, such as bottled water and juice, could have deposits on them as well. Several organizations are lobbying to expand the bottle bill, though efforts to date have not succeeded in passing the revised bill.

At Tufts, the GreenBean Reverse Vending Machine is available for use in the Mayer Campus Center. The GreenBean Machine accepts all depositable plastic and glass containers. Proceeds from bottle deposits can be donated to charities or redeemed via PayPal. Check out GreenBean’s website for more information including live statistics around recycled bottles and energy redemption!

Read blog posts about the bottle bill!