Supporters of a Nov. 4 ballot question that would expand the Massachusetts bottle-deposit law to include bottled water and other non-carbonated beverages say opponents are trying to mislead voters.
The Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill, which includes groups like the Massachusetts Sierra Club and MASSPIRG, are asking television stations to pull down an ad by the group No On Question 2: Stop Forced Deposits, funded largely by supermarket chains and a beverage trade group.
Supporters say the 60-second ad fails to note that if the question passes, unclaimed nickel deposits will no longer go into the state’s general fund, but instead into a new environmental fund.
Instead, the ad says: “If you don’t return your used container to the store, politicians get to keep your money.”
The group also faults the ad for stating that “more than 90 percent of Massachusetts residents have access to curbside and other community recycling programs.”
Supporters said that only 47 percent of Massachusetts cities and towns have “easy, walk-outside-your-door curbside recycling.”
“The purpose of these ads is to trick voters and scare them into voting no,” said Janet Domenitz, executive director of MASSPIRG, which supports the question.
Nicole Giambusso, a spokeswoman for the No on Question 2 group, defended the ads saying all the information in the TV spots is backed up by facts.
“This is just a tactic by our opponents to distract voters from the fact that Question 2 will cost tens of millions of dollars to overhaul an inefficient, 1980s-era law, when we should be investing in modern recycling initiatives,” Giambusso said in a statement.
Also Monday, the No On Question 2 committee unveiled a new ad.
In the 30-second spot, committee member Schwarz Ayres, of Marlborough, says the law was a good idea 30 years ago, but now “it’s an idea whose time has come and past.” Ayres also says “90 percent of Massachusetts residents have curbside recycling right in their community.”
According to the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ website, nearly all Massachusetts cities and towns offer residents the opportunity to recycle — that includes both communities that offer curbside recycling and those that require a trip to the local recycling center.
The No on Question 2 committee has raised more than $7.8 million — virtually all of it from supermarkets and the Washington-based American Beverage Association — while backers of the question, including environmental groups, have raised just $525,000.