October 7, 7 pm
First Church in Salem, 316 Essex St.
Make an informed choice on the ballot questions this November. Come to the SAFE Environmental Ballot Forum 2014.
Find out why local environmental groups support a NO vote on Question 1 (Gas Tax) and a YES vote on Question 2 (Bottle Bill). Speakers are Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem), Phil Sego of Mass Sierra Club-YES on 2, and Andre Leroux of MA Smart Growth Alliance-NO on 1. Hear about the ballot questions and learn how you can join the campaign to help advance our environmental agenda.
Co-sponsored by SAFE (Salem Alliance for the Environment), Mass Sierra Club and MASSPIRG-Salem State. For more info, contact Pat Gozemba at (978) 744-9141.
The primary is over and the general election looms. This year’s ballot includes several referendums, including Question 2, which gives voters the chance to do what the legislature has refused to do: update the Bottle Bill.
Yvonne Abraham’s September 14 column in the Boston Globe cogently explains why voters should vote Yes on Question 2.
Now that the primary is over, the ballot question battles begin. On Question 2 — the proposal to expand the state’s bottle deposit law to cover water and other unfizzy drinks — you’re going to get hit with the best ads the deep-pocketed beverage industry can buy. So far, they’ve put a whopping $5.4 million into the campaign — more than the casino bigs desperate to stop a repeal of the state’s gambling law. Groups backing an expanded bottle bill (who have raised a meager $145,000 so far) say they expect the industry to pour in at least $5 million more. Hey, money is no object when it comes to protecting their profits.
They won’t tell you that’s what it’s about, though. No, the companies that make bank selling drinks in petroleum-based plastic will try to convince you they’re as green as spring meadows. Pay no attention to the shareholders behind the curtain: Defeating a law that would keep billions upon billions of plastic bottles out of landfills is all about protecting you and Mother Earth, dear vote.
Truth be told, this bottle bill shouldn’t even be on the ballot. A recent Globe poll showed 62 percent of voters favor it. And 209 of the state’s 351 cities and towns have passed resolutions supporting it. On Beacon Hill, it has been supported by at least a hundred legislators, and the governor. The Senate has approved it. But time and again, House speakers have refused to allow it to the floor for a vote, fearing the wrath of the voters who might think it’s too much like a tax. It’s hard to recall another case where the will of so many people was thwarted so utterly, for so long. Read more.
The Salem News reports that in the first six months of mandatory recycling Salem has diverted 300 tons of trash to recycling, saving the City $20,000.
SALEM — The new mandatory recycling program has enjoyed a relatively smooth rollout, with the city having already diverted about 300 tons of waste for a savings of $20,000, program enforcement coordinator Jeff Cohen said in a recent interview.
The recycling ordinance was approved by the City Council in May and took effect on July 1. It requires residents to set out recycling with their trash at least once every two weeks. The ordinance included a three-month grace period during which Cohen and the city tried to educate the public about recycling, including through face-to-face meetings with residents and an advertisement campaign that aired on Salem Access Television.
Cohen was hired to his 18-month contract via monies from the Department of Environmental Protection and the city’s trash budget. During the grace period, he canvassed the city, measured “set-out” rates and educated people about recycling.
“I went to approximately 13,000 addresses and posted about 6,000 door hangers,” he said. “During that period, I spoke to about 2,800 people face-to-face and a lot of other people on phone calls.”
The city pays a little more than $60 a ton to dispose of trash, with the average person producing about that much each year. Recycling plastic, metal or glass costs the city nothing, and paper and cardboard can be sold for a profit of $20 a ton. Read more.
The Salem Gazette (June 21, 2012) reports:
Supporters of an expansion to the Bottle Bill, Massachusett’s 30-year-old recycling deposit law, pledged to keep the pressure on Beacon Hill after the bill was killed for the 13th year in a row.
“We’re working with members of the Sierra Club and MassPIRG, who are leaders in these sorts of fights, to encourage legislators to fight for this expansion,” said Pat Gozemba, co-chair of the Salem Alliance for the Environment. “People have been bringing this bill to the state house for 13 years, and if we need to we’ll bring it for a 14th as well.”
Read more: Bottle Bill proponents pledge to fight on – Salem, Massachusetts – Salem Gazette