By Paul Ploumis
SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): According to a new study report released by the Container Recycling Institute (CRI), Massachusetts’ bottle deposit system contributes anywhere between $85 million and $151 million to the state’s economy.
The study report titled “Massachusetts Container Deposit Return System: 2016 Employment and Economic Impacts in the Commonwealth’ was prepared on behalf of CRI by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Industrial Economics Inc. It must be noted that the bottle bill offers refunds to customers in return for empty beverage containers to designated recycling locations. The Bottle Bill offers considerable employment and other economic benefits in Massachusetts.
As per report, over 1.2 billion containers were recovered in 2015, which is equivalent to 59% of total sold. Also, $62.3 million were returned to consumers through refunds. Full-service redemption centers processed 374 million containers, equivalent to nearly 30% of returned containers. Retailers collected 762 million containers, equivalent to 61%. The balance 9% was directly collected by distributors. The collection by distributors totaled nearly 111 million containers, the report data suggests.
The bottle market currently offers 1,480 jobs in Massachusetts, including full-time equivalent jobs. This comprises of nearly 840 collection, transportation and maintenance jobs at retail locations, 340 materials sorting jobs at 68 redemption centers and roughly 300 processing and manufacturing jobs at manufacturing sites and dedicated materials processing facilities.
A total of $105.7 million was collected in deposits. A sum of $43.4 million in unrecovered deposits was turned over to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. As per report, distributors paid $32 million to redemption centers and retailers for implementing collection. Distributors and processors reported nearly $19 million in revenue from scrap value of empty beverage containers. The bottle deposit system has contributed over $5 million per annum in state and local tax revenue and an additional up to $11 million in property tax revenues. In addition, by redirecting containers from municipal stream, cities and municipalities save nearly $20 million per annum in costs associated with collection, recycling and disposal of those containers.
The report provides rough estimate of containers sold by material. Nearly 60% of deposit containers sold are aluminum. Out of 1.3 billion containers sold, 751 million are returned. 25% of deposit containers sold are glass. Rough estimates indicate that 523 million glass containers are sold, out of which 309 million are returned. The balance 15% of deposit containers sold are PET plastic. Out of 317 million containers sold, 187 million are returned. The PET Bottles recovered are worth roughly $2.1 million in market value when baled.
In the absence of Bottle Bill, cities and town across the state would require 149 to 291 additional recycling and collection jobs. Cities and town would face an additional cost of around $20 million in collection, sorting and disposing of containers. This is in addition to the loss of $43 million which is currently credited to Department of Revenue as unclaimed deposits. The lower commodity value of materials collected through the MRFs would impact the income to processors. Also, the $106 million that consumers currently pay in deposits would disappear.