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

MASSPIRG director to state lawmakers: No shortage of ideas for waste solutions

MASSPIRG members and many others are doing their part to reduce their contribution to the state's waste problem. It's time for lawmakers to do theirs.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Not one, not two, but four more states ban single-use plastic bags

The number of statewide plastic bag bans in the U.S. tripled in June, with Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Oregon adding themselves to the list.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Nathan Proctor advocates for our right to repair at the FTC’s 'Nixing the Fix' workshop

We've been telling everybody who will listen that the companies that make electronics and other products should make it easier to repair your stuff. In July, we got to tell the Federal Trade Commission...

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

New Report shows what Bay Staters are trying to fix

BOSTON -- While New Englanders’ thriftiness is alive and well, a new report released today by the MASSPIRG Education Fund, “What are Bay Staters Trying to Fix?” chronicles some big obstacles in their way. The report analyzes data from the popular repair website iFixit.com and looks at what items people in Massachusetts are trying to fix, and why that can be harder than it should be.

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Report | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

What are Bay Staters Fixing?

Here in Massachusetts, we want to fix our stuff.

Something breaks, or doesn’t work right. You could throw it away, but you don’t want to be wasteful so you try to figure out how to get it fixed.

 

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Pages

News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

12,000 Bay Staters Tell DEP: Enforce the Waste Bans

In just over one month’s time, the consumer advocacy group MASSPIRG (Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group) has collected over 12,000 signatures calling on Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell to sign a pledge to crack down on violators of Massachusetts’ longstanding waste bans.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Group Spotlights Waste Ban Violations, Calls for Enforcement

"It's time to get more 'cops' on the beat," commented Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG, which is collecting signatures on petitions asking DEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell to step up enforcement of the waste bans. "Garbage is a big business in Massachusetts, and it's clear that landfills, incinerators, waste haulers and big waste generators are flaunting these regulations." Although there is significant evidence of large scale violations of these waste bans, the DEP has only issued a handful of penalties over the past few years.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Senate passes Updated Bottle Bill

 

“It’s high time to update the Bottle Bill,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG. “We’ve been pushing for this update for a long time, but the bottlers and big beverage industry lobbyists have been pushing back. We are now optimistic that with the support of the Senate, and Governor Patrick, the House will move quickly to adopt this amendment.”

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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.

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Pages

Blog Post | Solid Waste

Janert Domenitz to speak at Ballot Questions Forum on Wednesday, 10/29 | Ben Martin-McDonough

Janert Domenitz to speak at Ballot Questions Forum hosted by the The Boston 500 tonight, 10/29, from 6:30-8pm at the Twelfth Baptist Church on 160 Warren Street in Roxbury

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Video Blog | Solid Waste

Jimmy Tingle & the Battle for the Updated Bottle Bill

Perhaps the most fun we've ever had at a political rally, Jimmy Tingle's "Battle for the Bottle Bill" is now online for your viewing pleasure.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Join me and Jimmy Tingle Saturday, April 6, 7PM | Janet Domenitz

As we campaign for recycling and other public interest issues, sometimes we forget an important thing: having fun. We're lucky enough that nationally known comedian Jimmy Tingle is hosting an event on Saturday night, April 6, at the Regent Theater in Arlington, to promote passage of the Updated Bottle Bill and to have some fun doing it. While I've never been mistaken for a stand-up comedian, Jimmy has invited me to part of the program, so please come and laugh at, I mean with, me.

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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.

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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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