Consumers will pay for bottle bill

July 28, 2011

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THE DEPARTMENT of Environmental Protection missed the point with its attempt to justify an expansion of the bottle bill (“State report offers case for expanding bottle law,’’ Metro, July 20). Our firm has estimated that expanding the law would cost stores and beverage distributors $58 million per year to achieve an increase of one-eighth of 1 percent in our recycling rate statewide - not a good investment, especially with food prices already rising.

Based on a survey of beverage prices in New England, the DEP asserts that since beverage prices are consistent across state lines, there must not be any cost from the deposit system. We should expect to find consistent prices across state lines - food stores select, distribute, price, and advertise products regionally; it’s the reality of marketing consumer goods. But to use this survey to conclude that $58 million in new costs imposed on Massachusetts businesses will not eventually reach consumers is faulty logic.

Make no mistake about it: Massachusetts consumers will pay the price tag for this oversold proposal. It’s not convenient for the Patrick administration’s case, but you can’t assume away tens of millions of new government-mandated costs.

Kevin S. Dietly
Northbridge Environmental
Management Consultants