Critics of proposed expansion of state's bottle deposit law spending $5.4M to defeat question

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BOSTON — Opponents of proposed expansion of the state's deposit law have already pumped more than $5.4 million into a campaign to defeat the question on the November ballot.

Nearly all the money — $5 million — came from the Washington-based American Beverage Association, a trade association representing the non-alcoholic beverage industry.

The ballot question would expand the current law to include bottled water and other non-carbonated beverages not included in the original law. It is Question 2 on the ballot.

Supporters of the question have raised about $293,000. The bulk of that has come from the Massachusetts Sierra Club.

The Sierra Club and other environmental groups say updating the decades-old law will reduce litter and encourage recycling.

Critics say it will hurt small businesses by forcing them to handle an increase in bottle returns.

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