Both sides in the debate over Question 2 say much has changed in the more than three decades since Massachusetts first passed a bottle deposit law.

Proponents of the Nov. 4 ballot measure say beverages such as bottled water and sports drinks that were virtually unheard-of at the time are now staples on supermarket shelves.

But opponents argue that modern day recycling programs are rendering the "bottle bill" obsolete.

If approved, the ballot measure would expand the law by adding 5-cent deposits to most non-alcoholic and non-carbonated beverage containers.

It would also allow deposits to increase with inflation in future years and require that unclaimed deposits be earmarked for a special state environmental fund.

Groups including supermarkets and the beverage industry have so far spent more than $8.2 million in an effort to defeat the ballot question.