MCLA students may have been slightly bewildered on their way to lunch Monday, Feb. 24 when they were greeted in the Marketplace by a large, anthropomorphic plastic water bottle.
But Bottle Bill became quite the celebrity, and many students had their picture taken with him. Bottle Bill is the mascot for MassPIRG’s photo petition to update of the Massachusetts Bottle Bill. The proposed changes would add a 5 cent recycling deposit to non-carbonated beverage containers. The idea of the photos was add faces to the list of names on last fall’s petition many students signed.
“I think it’s a good way to show who’s supporting it,” sophomore Chris Cozzaglio said. “You can read a name a hundred times and not think much of it, but once you see a picture, I think it means a lot more.”
Senator Ben Downing and State Representative Gail Carridi also came by the event to show their support.
Carridi, a long-time supporter of the Bottle Bill update, said the main reason non-carbonated bottles don’t have a deposit is they were uncommon when the original Bottle Bill was passed in 1983. Sports drinks, bottled iced teas, and other popular non-carbonated beverages have only become popular in the past 20 years or so. Carridi said she feels the Bottle Bill needs to get with the times.
“Some think it’s a tax imposed on the people who buy the products,” Carridi said. “I think it’s an incentive for people to recycle.” The update is projected to improve recycling of plastic bottles in the state by as much as 60 percent.
“I thought it was really cool having the state rep and senator here because it shows how important the Bottle Bill is,” MASSPIRG student coordinator Morgan McCarthy said. “And we got a lot of students to show theirsupport.”
In addition to the Bottle Bill mascot (MassPIRG student coordinator Alyssa Dame) the table for the event also had paper signs with slogans such as “MCLA loves the Bottle Bill” and “I’m Voting Yes” for students to hold up in their photographs. The event continued even after the mascot deflated.
More than 100 students took pictures for the project. Many were flagged down by MassPIRG staff exclaiming “Hey, do you want to help increase recycling?” or similar invitations. Some students were unfamiliar with the Bottle Bill update, but expressed enthusiasm once it was explained to them.
“I support anything that will reduce the amount of bottles and litter,” sophomore Evan Patev said. Many students said they recalled signing the written petition in the fall, and took pictures to continue their support.
“I think the event went fantastic,” campus organizer Tess Goyer said. “We had two influential people and a lot of students show their support for the bottle bill. I think a lot of our students are getting more involved.”
The pictures from the photo campaign from MCLA and campuses around the state are online at bottlebill2014.tumblr.com.