Fraudulent recycling of glass bottles from out of state is costing Massachusetts tax payers millions of dollars, reports CBS Boston.
Those returning certain used glass bottles in Massachusetts receive a 5-cent refund, but, according to the news service, there is virtually nothing stopping people from bringing in bottles from other states and depositing them in the Massachusetts system. Neither of the neighboring states of Rhode Island and New Hampshire offers refunds.
Reporters’ cameras captured many trucks crossing Massachusetts state lines filled “to the brim” with bottles from neighboring states, including one entrepreneur who picks up bottles from a Rhode Island bar twice a week and deposits them at a reclaim depot in the Bay State.
Consultant Kevin Dietly of Northbridge Environmental estimates that between 6 and 8 percent of returns are fraudulent. Dietly says that such returns cost the state between 4 million and 6 million dollars a year, the news service reports.
Massachusetts legislators have seemingly known about the problem for years. The news service found a report warning of the potential for fraud from 1998.
Bottle return sites are required to notify users that it is illegal to return bottle from other states. Fines for illegal redemptions can reach $25,000.
In October, the last-ever returnable glass Coca Cola bottle in the US rolled off the production line in a Minnesota bottling facility. The Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Winona filled the last bottle after deciding that it would be too costly to replace the product’s aging bottling line, reported WKYC.com.