Campaign for Zero Waste

WORKING FOR ZERO WASTE— In Massachusetts, cardboard must be recycled by law. Yet each year, business violators send enough card and paper to  landfills and incinerators that it would fill Fenway Park. 

Don't Waste Massachusetts

Recycling Laws Are Being Violated

We already have a law that bans dumping recyclable materials in landfills and incinerators. And yet, every year more than 2 million tons of recyclable materials get dumped with the rest of the garbage.

Why?

Because the Department of Environmental Protection is lax on enforcement, while businesses, haulers, and landfill and incinerator operators ignore the regulations.

Waste Is Piling Up

Our incinerators are spewing toxic pollution, and our landfills are overflowing and leaking. That’s because we bury, burn or export 53 percent of our waste. But, of the waste that ends up in incinerators and landfills, more than half of it is recyclable, and a third of it is from excess packaging.

We Can Achieve Zero Waste

MASSPIRG is fighting to get the Commonwealth on the path to zero waste. The first step is to enforce the recycling laws already on the books. But we can’t stop there: we’re  working to ensure that state waste policy is dedicated to the principle of reduce, reuse, recycle, and that the Department of Environmental Protection is held accountable for the goals laid out in its Solid Waste Master Plan 2010-2020.

In order to accomplish these goals, MASSPIRG is pushing for commonsense solutions – such as a statewide ban on unnecessary plastic bags and an updated Bottle Bill, our most effective recycling program. We have also called for enforcement of waste bans which have been on the books for years but which many big businesses ignore. And, with the leadership of Senator Cynthia Creem and Rep Gloria Fox, we filed a bill which, when passed, will put the Commonwealth on a set timeline to achieve 70% recycling for water bottles and similar containers.

Issue updates

Blog Post | Solid Waste

Shareholders push back against Microsoft’s backwards stance on repair | Nathan Proctor

As Microsoft joins the $2 trillion club, a shareholder group presses for Right to Repair 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Solid Waste

Statement: Target’s new plastic packaging goal is a step in the right direction

The Fortune 50 retailer Target announced a new goal Tuesday to reduce its use of virgin plastic 20 percent by 2025 across its own brand frequency products. It is part of a new sustainability strategy called Target Forward and covers such key categories as household cleaning, personal care and beauty.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

Lawmakers and public push Whole Foods to put “Planet Over Plastic” at upcoming annual meeting

AUSTIN, Texas --  U.S. PIRG Education Fund , Environment America Research & Policy Center, and Student PIRG sent 59,000 petitions and a letter signed by more than 40 state lawmakers Thursday to Whole Foods urging the company to commit to a comprehensive plan for phasing out single-use plastic packaging from its stores. This follows a March 2021 letter signed by more than 130 advocacy and community groups calling on the national supermarket chain to adopt a bold response to the plastic pollution crisis.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

How e-waste is creating a growing environmental and health crisis across the worldAnne Marie GreenHaley Clinton

We need policies like Right to Repair to address the dangerous flood of electronics waste

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

From Earth Day ‘20 to Earth Day ‘21: 10 zero waste highlights | Faye Park

This pandemic year intensified both our waste generation and our grasp of its unsustainability.

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Pages

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

U.S. PIRG Education Fund urges the public to hold Coca-Cola accountable on its pledge to reduce plastic use

The Coca-Cola Company, a top plastic polluter according to a 2020 Brand Audit from the nonprofit Break Free From Plastic, announced a new commitment today to start using plastic bottles made with 100 percent recycled plastic for select brands in some U.S. states. According to the company, it would account for a nearly 20 percent reduction of new plastic used in North America compared to 2018. The commitment follows similar ones made by other major consumer goods companies, recently documented by U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Solid Waste

Break Free From Plastic movement urges incoming Biden administration, Congress to reduce plastic pollution

Over 250 environmental groups, alongside U.S. PIRG, sent a thirteen key recommendations today to the 117th Congress outlining strategies on how to reduce plastic pollution through future legislative spending packages.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

“Fixed for the Holidays” guide gives holiday shoppers tips to save money on refurbished tech

Boston -- With families looking for extra savings this holiday season, MASSPIRG released “Fixed for the Holidays,” a guide to buying refurbished electronic gifts. Part of our Right to Repair campaign, this guide helps consumers identify quality items, learn where to get them, and ensure they are getting the best deals.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Back to Reduce: Groups call for renewed push to reduce waste

BOSTON -- In a survey of 15 Massachusetts cities, researchers at MASSPIRG found that, despite Gov. Charlie Baker’s July 13 executive order that allowed for the reinstatement of plastic bag bans and the use of reusable bags again, local delays and confusion remain in some jurisdictions. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Statement: Groups applaud environmental agency decision to revisit Solid Waste Master Plan

BOSTON -- In a move celebrated by several major environmental, grassroots and public interest organizations, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced Thursday that they would re-open the public hearing process on the draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, the Commonwealth’s blueprint for dealing with waste. After the initial hearings ended in December without sufficient public outreach, the groups started pushing for the public hearings to be reopened; through direct advocacy, letters, emails and grassroots organizing. 

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Pages

Report | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Recharge Repair

A survey looking at the rise in battery replacement requests and self-repair interest in response to news breaking that Apple was slowing down older phones to preserve battery life. 

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Report | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Memorandum Regarding EEA No. 15356 Southbridge Recycling & Disposal Park, Draft Environmental Impact Report

On September 25th, 2015 MASSPIRG submitted comments to the Massachustts Department of Environmental Protection in regards to the unneccessary and dangerous expansion proposal of the Southbridge Landfill.

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Report | MASSPIRG and the Massachusetts Sierra Club | Solid Waste

The Impact of the Bottle Bill on Jobs in the Economy

This year, Massachusetts plummeted from 15th to 21st in CNBC’s annual ranking of the health of  each state’s economy, further demonstration that more must be done to stimulate job growth in  Massachusetts. One sector with untapped job growth is Massachusetts’ recycling industry, which  already employs close to 14,000 people, has a half-billion dollar payroll, and collects $3.2 billion in revenue every year. If the pending Bottle Bill Update is passed (H.890/S.1650), a net increase of 1500 jobs is expected in the state of Massachusetts.

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Report | Container Recycling Institute (CRI) | Consumer Protection, Solid Waste

Returning to Work

This study provides an intensely detailed, scenario-specific assessment of the jobs to be gained from increased recycling of what is arguably the most common, most prolific and most sought-after of all household recyclables—beverage containers.

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Pages

Blog Post | Solid Waste

Shareholders push back against Microsoft’s backwards stance on repair | Nathan Proctor

As Microsoft joins the $2 trillion club, a shareholder group presses for Right to Repair 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

How e-waste is creating a growing environmental and health crisis across the worldAnne Marie GreenHaley Clinton

We need policies like Right to Repair to address the dangerous flood of electronics waste

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

From Earth Day ‘20 to Earth Day ‘21: 10 zero waste highlights | Faye Park

This pandemic year intensified both our waste generation and our grasp of its unsustainability.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Angry crafting moms blow up Cricut subscription ploy | Anne Marie Green

Unrestrained by the Right to Repair, companies test the boundaries of ownership. People are pushing back, and recently forced the craft device maker Cricut to abandon a change to its terms of use. 

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Electronic waste is destroying the planet, but we can fix that | Anne Marie Green

Environmental advocates support ‘Right to Repair’ legislation

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Pages

Blog Post | Solid Waste

"Reduce" comes first: MASSPIRG testifies on behalf of state ban on polystyrene food containers

If a plastic product is rarely reused, and virtually never recycled, then reduce is the only way to go.

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Blog Post | Food, Solid Waste

What a waste: At least 30% of trash could be composted instead of buried or burned

Each year, America landfills and incinerates enough organic material to fill a line of 18-wheelers stretching from New York to Los Angeles 10 times over.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste, Transportation

Before we spend $2 trillion, report recommends a 'Blueprint for Tomorrow'

For all of us who rely on our roads and public transit, and our water, sewage and power systems, the agreement reached by President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders in May to commit $2 trillion to infrastructure should be good news.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Maryland and Maine become the first states to ban plastic foam. Who's next?

Maryland and Maine are the first states in the U.S. to put a plastic foam container ban on the books, but other states aren't far behind.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

More than 10,000 people pledge to skip the straw

More than 10,000 Americans said "no" to plastic straws in February. Feb. 22 marked the third annual national Skip the Straw Day—a day created by Michigan middle school students who were fed up with plastic pollution and its impact on wildlife and the planet.

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Pages

Blog Post

Every year, Amazon destroys unsold and returned products by the millions. It's the pinnacle of unnecessary waste, and it has to stop.

Blog Post

Celebrating my favorite government mascot’s 50th birthday by sharing the zero-waste tips I have made a part of my life.

Blog Post

It’s the plastics industry’s worst-kept secret: a huge percentage of their products are designed to be used once then thrown away -- and yet it’s us, the consumers, who are left to pay for the cleanup.

Blog Post

In early August, the Boston Globe ran a front page story about a proposed landfill to be built near a pristine lake in New Hampshire. A substantial amount of Massachusetts waste is exported for disposal in other states, including to NH. While MASSPIRG has been asking the MA Department of Environmental Protection to set a goal of zero waste in Massachusetts for years, the article made painfully clear how waste disposal ruins the environment and public health in New England, so a handful of leading environmental and public health organizations called on Governor Baker get serious about adopting Zero Waste policies.

Solid Waste

Report highlights cost- and waste-saving potential of right to repair

Our new report details the millions of pounds of avoidable electronic waste that Massachusetts produces and examines the obstacles people face to repairing their electronics, most notably manufacturer restrictions on repair. The report shows that Bay Staters would fix their devices and keep them for longer if they had the tools to do so.

 

Solid Waste

MASSPIRG hosts webinar to call for better plastics policies coming out of pandemic

During the pandemic, single-use plastics falsely masqueraded as a more hygienic alternative to reusable options, and we now have far too much plastic waste. MASSPIRG and others hosted a webinar to boost bills that will restrict the use of plastics and update the Massachusetts bottle bill.

 

Solid Waste

Local plastic bag ban delays; renewed call to reduce waste

This summer, Gov. Charlie Baker took a major step to get the Bay State back on the path to zero waste by reinstating single-use plastic bag bans in 139 cities and towns. But local delays and confusion remain in several jurisdictions, prompting MASSPIRG and our partners to renew our call for the commonwealth to get back to reducing harmful and unnecessary plastic waste.

 

Solid Waste

Massachusetts resumes bans on single-use plastic bags

Gov. Charlie Baker has rescinded an emergency order from March that paused the use of reusable bags in the commonwealth. The decision will allow bans on single-use plastic bags to resume in 139 cities and towns across Massachusetts. 

 
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