Updating the Bottle Bill

With only 23% of non-deposit containers recycled versus 80% of deposit containers, the Bottle Bill is the most effective recycling program in Massachusetts.

Stop Litter, Increase Recycling

For over a decade, MASSPIRG and a large and diverse coalition have been calling for an update of the Bottle Bill. After the more than $9 million spent by bottlers and the waste industry defeated this proposal on the November 2014 ballot, we still believe it sets the standard for effective recycling programs and are organizing support for a new bill (H.2875/S.1752), sponsored by Representative Gloria Fox (Boston) and Senator Cynthia Creem (Newton), that aims to increase the recylcing rates of all beverage containers to the high level of deposit containers.

 WHAT THE BILL DOES

  • Provides for a six-year waiting period to see if the alternative recycling methods proposed by the bottling industry have succeeded. As of 2013, 80% of containers with a deposit were recycled, but only 23% of containers without a deposit (like water bottles and sports drinks) were recycled.
  • If, after six years, that 23%, as tracked by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) doesn’t get within five percentage points of 80%, container deposits will be enacted for water bottles and sports drinks.

 WHY THE BILL IS IMPORTANT

If we passed a bottle bill update, it would:

  • Save cities and towns $7 million a year in litter pick-up and trash disposal, resulting in cleaner streets and parks.
  • Save energy and oil from being wasted. It takes 50 million barrels of oil to produce PET water bottles for the US alone.
  • Create jobs! A 2012 report by MASSPIRG and the Sierra Club estimated that 1,500 jobs would be created by updating the bottle bill.

 BOTTLE BILL FACTS

  • In Massachusetts, beverage containers compose 15.2% of solid waste by volume.
  • Container deposit laws have been shown to decrease beverage container litter by over 80% and decrease total litter by over 40%.

Issue Updates

Blog Post | Solid Waste

Letter from Mayor Menino: Raise the Bottle Bill handling fee | Janet Domenitz

MASSPIRG is excited that Mayor Menino has put his support firmly behind raising the handling fee for redemption centers. Raising the fee will help locally owned redemption centers stay in business, and make it easier for Bay Staters to recycle.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

MASSPIRG Submits Testimony to Increase Bottle Bill Handling Fee

MASSPIRG supports Secretary Rick Sullivan’s proposal to increase the bottle bill “handling fee” by one penny, from 2.25c per container to 3.25c per container.  The handling fee is what the distributor pays the retailer for handling the empty containers, a key part of making the bottle bill work (the handling fee has nothing to do with the deposit, which consumers pay, and get redeemed when they return the container). This is a common sense and long overdue proposal.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG, Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill | Solid Waste

Updated Bottle Bill Builds Steam

In a sign that the Updated Bottle Bill has more support on Beacon Hill than ever before, the final tally of cosponsors in the Legislature included the highest number the bill has ever garnered, coming at at 95 (75 in the House, 25 in the Senate). Giving the measure even more momentum, on Friday, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan proposed an increase in the bottle bill handling fee.  This handling fee (which has nothing to do with the 5-cent deposit) is what the bottling industry pays redemption centers, grocery stores, and other businesses for collecting and transporting bottles and cans for recycling.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Coalition Lauds Proposal to Increase Bottle Bill Handling Fee

We applaud EOEEA Secretary Rick Sullivan’s proposed regulations to increase the bottle bill handling fee. Bottle redemption centers, small, family-owned businesses that are a key part of making the bottle bill work, haven’t had a raise in the 2.25 cent handling fee for over 20 years.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Ocean Spray Blasted for Opposition to Bottle Bill

In a stunning show of consumer opinion, in less than 24 hours over 1,300 people signed a statement calling on Ocean Spray to reverse its opposition to the Updated Bottle Bill. “I was truly gratified, but not surprised, by the 1,386 replies, how fast they came in, and how passionate the comments were,” stated Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG, the organization which circulated the statement. “But I think some citizens were surprised to learn that a company they purchase beverages from is blocking a recycling measure they heartily support.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG and the Massachusetts Sierra Club | Solid Waste

It's time to bring the Bottle Bill Update to the floor for a vote

Big business has been using their influence to "bottle up" the bottle bill update for 14 years. Despite overwhelming support for the update by the public (77% support an update according a poll by Mass Inc), Gov. Deval Patrick, and a majority of state legislators, the bill is still stalled.

It's time to bring the Bottle Bill Update to the floor for a vote.

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Media Hit | Solid Waste

Still waiting for state’s master plan to reduce solid waste

While it’s cause for great celebration that Massachusetts is planning to reduce waste, it’s also a reminder that the Department of Environmental Protection has yet to produce the solid waste master plan — the comprehensive, 10-year waste plan required by law. We can’t help feeling like we’re at the celebration, blindfolded, with a tail in our hands but no donkey on the wall.

 

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Contrary to Media Buzz, Bottle Bill Still Alive

Contrary to some news reports about the Massachusetts House of Representatives budget deliberations yesterday, the Updated Bottle Bill WAS NOT voted down during the budget debate. But, this serves as an important reminder that the bill, H890/S1650, is pending in the Telecom Utilities and Energy (TUE) committee.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Bottle Bill Vote High Priority for Local Municipalities

On Thursday, April 5, the town of Falmouth became the 208th municipality in Massachusetts to pass a resolution endorsing the Updated Bottle Bill (HB890/SB1650). Frustration with the Legislature, which has been sitting on this bill for over a decade, is mounting, and municipal actions like this are aimed at prompting legislative action.

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