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Advocates press to update Massachusetts' bottle bill

Rex Roof, flickr
A report said only 38 percent of empty bottles and cans are being brought to grocery stores and redemption centers in Massachusetts for the nickel deposit

Study finds only 38 percent of bottles and cans are returned for the deposit

A report says Massachusetts ranks dead last when it comes to residents returning empty bottles and cans to claim the 5-cent deposit.

The Container Recycling Institute, a California-based nonprofit, said Massachusetts’ redemption rate of 38 percent in 2021 was the lowest among the 10 states with bottle bills.

This report may give new impetus to long-standing efforts by consumer and environmental groups in Massachusetts to update the state’s 40-year-old bottle bill.

One of those advocates is MassPIRG Executive Director Janet Domenitz. She spoke with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.