House and Senate leaders started debating Wednesday whether to include an expanded bottle deposit amendment in a bill designed to spur job creation.
The expanded bottle deposit amendment would put 5-cent deposits on bottles of water, juice, iced tea and sports drinks.
While State Rep. Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers) said he has always been supportive of the bottle bill in the past, now he said he doesn't know if his constituents in Danvers would benefit from the proposed changes.
"I do have reservations, because ," he said.
Speliotis, who lives in Danvers, said he participates in the mandatory curbside recycling with plastic water bottles, but opts to bring soda cans and bottles back to the grocery store to redeem the 5 cent bottle deposit.
"I find that very inconvenient," he said. "I would rather put everything on the curb right now."
Speliotis said he thinks it would be more fitting for the entire state to follow Danvers' policy , and make curbside recycling mandatory.
"I'm not as supportive of the bottle bill as I was in the past," he said.
The ammendment is attached to a jobs bill that passed in the Senate July 19 and is now being hashed out in a conference committee comprised of members of both chambers. Gov. Deval Patrick has said that he supports it.
The House has fought passage of an expanded bottle bill, which Speaker Robert DeLeo and others in the House view as a tax. But Sen. Robert Hedlund disputes this view, saying that taxes can't be redeemed.
The expansion to the 31-year-old law designed to promote recycling and reduce litter would add plastic bottles used for water, juices, iced tea and sports drinks to the list of containers subject to the 5-cent bottle deposit. Under the law, these types of containers carry a 5-cent redeemable deposit that can be collected when they are returned to the store.
Opponents say the bill increases costs for businesses and consumers. Supporters say it encourages more recycling.
The governor has said that the state could collect up to $58 million a year on unredeemed bottles, and that the program cuts the cost to cities of recycling the bottles.
A finalized version of the bill will need to be sent through both chambers before going to the governor's desk by July 31.