Distilled Spirits Council Urges Massachusetts Lawmakers to Reject New Spirits Bottle Deposit Proposal

The Distilled Spirits Council today urged Massachusetts lawmakers to reject a proposal to impose a new 5-cent per container deposit on all 50-milliliter distilled spirits products, which would impose a significant burden on consumers without providing any intended benefit.

“With recycling rates at historic levels, most states recognize that bottle deposit laws are a relic no longer needed – simply adding additional cost and burden to consumers,” said Distilled Spirits Council Vice President of State Government Relations Jay Hibbard.

“Fifty percent of the price paid for any distilled spirits product sold at retail already goes to pay a tax or fee and the vast majority of citizens are properly disposing of 50 milliliter containers. Imposing a deposit requirement is neither necessary nor warranted,” Hibbard added.

According to Hibbard, the 50-milliliter bottle size is an affordable way for consumers to sample a new product at a significantly lower price point. Increased costs from a deposit requirement could discourage customers from trying new products.

As recently as 2014, 73 percent of Massachusetts citizens clearly indicated their preference for comprehensive recycling approaches like single stream and curbside pickup, rather than a forced-deposit system.

Amendment #89 seeks to impose a 5-cent per container deposit on all 50-milliliter distilled spirits products sold in Massachusetts, products which are currently not subject to the state’s refundable deposit law. This amendment was filed yesterday to H.4599, entitled “An Act promoting climate change adaptation, environmental and natural resource protection, and investment in recreational assets and opportunity.”