Nicholas Vasconcellos: The urgent need to reduce plastic consumption

A swan stands between dumped plastic bottles and waste at the Danube river in Belgrade, Serbia, on April 18, 2022.

A swan stands between dumped plastic bottles and waste at the Danube river in Belgrade, Serbia, on April 18, 2022. AP FILE PHOTO/DARKO VOJINOVIC

Published: 02-25-2024 12:09 AM

I am writing to express support for An Act to Expand the Bottle Bill (H.3690/S.2104), which would significantly enhance recycling efforts in Massachusetts by increasing the bottle deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents. The act also will expand what can be recycled for a bottle deposit to all glass/plastic bottles and cans. This legislation is not only good for the environment, but offers a personal incentive for recycling, encouraging individuals to make eco-conscious choices.

Beyond the landfill issue, the pervasive problem of plastic pollution in our oceans cannot be ignored. It is disheartening to know that the Pacific Ocean is marred by vast garbage patches, posing severe threats to marine ecosystems. A higher deposit boosts recycling rates and deters reckless disposal that contributes to these oceanic wastelands.

The impact of plastic pollution extends to our own health. As plastic bottles break down over time, they release microplastics into the environment. These microplastics find their way into our water systems, ending up in the fish we consume. By supporting the An Act to Expand the Bottle Bill, we can mitigate this silent threat to our well-being. An Act to Expand the Bottle Bill is a win-win proposition. It promotes responsible consumer behavior while addressing the environmental consequences of plastic waste.

I urge our lawmakers to recognize the importance of this initiative and to take action. Let us all play a role in reducing plastic waste and protecting our planet for future generations.

Nicholas Vasconcellos

On behalf of  MASSPIRG
students, Amherst