Voters across Massachusetts on Tuesday decided their state's deposit program will not be expanded to include water bottles and other noncarbonated beverages.
Just after 9:30 p.m., with 25 percent of precincts reporting, the Boston Globe and Associated Press called the race on Question 2, with 72 percent of the vote against and 28 percent in favor of extending the current 5-cent deposit on soda and beer to other single-serving PET containers for water, juice and sports drinks, potentially harming the state's recycling efforts.
The results only widened from there. By Wednesday morning, 1.5 million "No" votes had been counted — 73.4 percent of the turnout, compared to 552,000 votes in favor.
Question 2, the bottle ballot measure, also would have language that would required the state to adjust the deposit amount every five years based on the consumer price index, but prevents the deposit amount from ever falling below 5 cents.
After a committee of legislators announced in June that they were “at an impasse” and unable to come up with an acceptable compromise between stakeholders — advocates who would only accept a bill that would expand the state's 5-cent deposit program to include noncarbonated beverages versus opponents, who said municipal recycling programs have rendered the bottle bill obsolete and refused to accept any bill that did not scrap the 33-year-old law altogether — the question of bottle recycling in Massachusetts was left to the people.
In an effort spearheaded by MassPIRG and the Sierra Club, more than 19,000 signatures were delivered to State Secretary William Galvin's office in July, creating Question 2.
The American Beverage Association fought hard against the ballot issue, raising $5 million for an onslaught of television ads and to hire Goddard Gunster, a high-powered PR advocacy firm — the team behind the “Harry & Louise” ads that helped kill the Clinton health care plan in the 1990s.
Check back with Plastics News for continued coverage of the potential impact of 2014 midterm election results on the plastics industry.