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Dissent -- Vote `No' on Question 3

By Matthew H. Hersch, David A. Maltz, and Brian Rosenberg
Dissenting

Proposition 3 is not worth a yes vote. Recycling our garbage into useful products or packaging is a vital goal, but Proposition 3 will not achieve it. If passed, Proposition 3 will be enforced by the already over-burdened state Department of Environmental Protection. The department will receive no additional funding for this task, however. As a result, Proposition 3 merely creates another law, not a viable program.

The proposal also has the double-edged drawback of being unlikely to have much effect on large out-of-state manufacturers, for whom Massachusetts represents only a small fraction of their total market. At the same time it will impose a large burden on small in-state manufacturers, who are more likely to be penalized under the law.

Further, Proposition 3 will fail to achieve its primary aim of creating new markets for recycled goods. Recyclable materials collected here in Massachusetts must somehow be included in new packaging. There are pitifully few packaging plants in Massachusetts at present, and Proposition 3 contains no incentives for the creation of new facilities. This means used packaging will have to be transported to other states, greatly increasing transportation costs, already the largest costs associated with recycling.

If passed at a national level, overseen by a properly funded agency, and strengthened with proper incentives for the opening of new packaging plants to reuse recycled materials, a law like Proposition 3 would significantly benefit our country. As a state standing on its own, Massachusetts only stands to suffer from Proposition 3.