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In a stunning show of consumer opinion, in less than 24 hours over 1,300 people signed a statement calling on Ocean Spray to reverse its opposition to the Updated Bottle Bill. Ocean Spray is on record opposing the bill (H890/S1650), and sent a representative to the Legislature’s public hearing to testify against it. Pending for over a decade in the state Legislature, the bill would get juice and water bottles covered by the 5c deposit already on carbonated beverages.
“I was truly gratified, but not surprised, by the 1,386 replies, how fast they came in, and how passionate the comments were,” stated Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG, the organization which circulated the statement. “But I think some citizens were surprised to learn that a company they purchase beverages from is blocking a recycling measure they heartily support.”
The statement, directed to CEO Randy Pappadellis, reads, "I don't see how you can support recycling but oppose the Bottle Bill covering juice bottles.The Bottle Bill is our state's most effective recycling program, and if it covered juice, water, energy drinks and other beverages, we could increase recycling by 1 billion bottles per year."
The statement and list of 1,386 signers was sent to Mr. Pappadellis earlier this week.
In a poll conducted last year by the MassINC Polling Group, 77% of the public expressed support for the legislation. In addition, 208 cities and towns, including several surrounding Ocean Spray’s headquarters, have endorsed the bill. (Middleborough, Carver, Wareham, Plympton, Plymouth, and Raynham are among the cities and towns that have endorsed the bill.)
Underscoring the public passion for this bill, many citizens added their own comments to the statement. “Everywhere you look plastic bottles are ruining our environment. If you do not support recycling your own product then what is your solution? Please withdraw your opposition to the Updated Bottle Bill,” wrote Elinor from Plymouth. A woman named Janna, from Kingston, wrote: “I love your products and am a loyal customer. But I will switch brands if you continue to oppose the Updated Bottle Bill. Just because a beverage does not have bubbles does not make the container any less recyclable.”
The bill has been awaiting action for over a decade but is stuck in the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) Committee, which has delayed releasing it to the full Legislature for a vote. While the vast majority of the public supports the bill, some large corporations, like Ocean Spray, have worked hard to block it. “If I were the head of Ocean Spray, or a member of the TUE committee, I would look at the facts, listen to public, and act quickly to make this bill law,” commented Domenitz. As of this release, no word had come from Mr. Papadellis of Ocean Spray.
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