Update the Bottle Bill
IT’S ABOUT TIME—Because the current Bottle Bill doesn’t cover things like sports drinks, bottled water and iced tea, every year we end up throwing away over a billion bottles — enough to fill Fenway to the Monster seats. These bottles end up in incinerators and landfills, and as litter in our city streets, parks and beaches.
HELP INCREASE RECYCLING, DECREASE WASTE
Back in 1982, MASSPIRG led the fight to pass the original Bottle Bill. As a result of this first statewide recycling program, today, 80% of bottles and cans covered under the Bottle Bill are recycled instead of buried or burned.
But only 20% of containers not covered under this deposit law end up being recycled. That adds up to more than 1 billion water, energy and sports drink bottles per year that get thrown in our landfills or burned in incinerators.
STANDING UP TO THE BEVERAGE INDUSTRY
The updated bill that would add these new containers has been blocked for the past 13 years by big business — like the supermarkets, liquor retailers and distributors that don't want any responsibility for the mess these littered containers make.
It’s high time our leaders stop delaying at the behest of big business interests and bring this commonsense recycling expansion bill up for a vote.
• The billion bottles per year that get buried or burned instead of recycled could fill Fenway Park to the Monster seats.
• A recent survey showed that 77% of the public supports updating the Bottle Bill.
• A total of 208 of Massachusetts cities and towns endorse the Updated Bottle Bill.
HOW THE BOTTLE BILL WORKS
• Massachusetts retailers pay distributors a 5-cent deposit for each can or bottle purchased.
• When buying a beverage, the consumer pays the deposit to the retailer.
• The consumer gets the 5-cent deposit refunded when they return the can or bottle to the retail store, a redemption center or a reverse vending machine.
• The retailer recovers the deposit from the distributor, plus an additional handling fee of 2.25 cents for handling the empty bottles and cans. The end result: containers end up recycled and reused instead of thrown away.
• Not all consumers redeem their containers for the deposit. In Massachusetts, distributors and bottlers are required to turn over unclaimed deposits to the state. These funds used to go to the state’s Clean Environment Fund, which supported local and statewide recycling efforts. They now go into the state's General Fund instead.
MANY NEW CONTAINERS ARE NOT COVERED
• We need to update the Bottle Bill so that the deposit covers new containers.
• The handling fee needs to be increased to 3 cents so redemption centers can continue operating.
• We need to restore the dedicated Clean Environment Fund.
- Transparency is fundamental to a thriving, participatory democracy.
- Staunching the flow of special interest money in our elections.
- Campaigning for more investment in transportation across the Commonwealth.
- Looking out for consumers, from bank fees to toxic toys.
- Working to shut down Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.
Tools & Resources
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You Can Help
We have the chance to increase recycling by a billion bottles per year by updating the Bottle Bill. Your support will give us the resources we need to convince our legislators to act.
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