BOSTON - Massachusetts is falling behind on returning empty bottles and cans.
A new report from the Container Recycling Institute finds only 38% of eligible bottles were returned for a 5-cent deposit last year. That's down from 50% in 2019.
Massachusetts has the lowest return rate of all states with bottle bills, according to the report. Neighboring New York had a 70% redemption rate in 2021.
"In Massachusetts, it is estimated that currently only one-quarter of the retailers required to accept back bottles and cans are doing so," the report says.
The institute is calling for higher deposit amounts and notes there is a bill in the Massachusetts Legislature to double the deposit amount to a dime.
"A nickel is no longer the financial incentive it once was for consumers to return beverage containers instead of throwing them away or littering them," CRI President Susan Collins said in the report.
Another recommendation is to have the state bottle deposit law cover more types of beverage containers - right now it does not allow for the return of non-carbonated drinks like juice.
While the report calls the bottle return rate in Massachusetts "disappointing," it does say the redemption rate is still higher than the average U.S. recycling rate.
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