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

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
News Release | Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill | Solid Waste

Legislative Committee Kills Updated Bottle Bill

With the support of 77% of the public, 208 cities and towns, Governor Patrick, and a majority of legislators, the measure should have been swiftly adopted. "Instead of Massachusetts taking home the gold medal, by disqualifying the public's opinion, the legislature gives us more litter, more waste, and less recycling." said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Big Crowd Gathers at State House Calling for House Passage of the Updated Bottle Bill

In the wake of the state Senate’s passage of the Updated Bottle Bill last week, and with Governor Patrick a huge champion, supporters gathered today to call on Speaker Robert DeLeo and the House of Representatives to finally pass the Update after 14 years.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Big Win For Updated Bottle Bill in Senate | Janet Domenitz

In the spirit of the upcoming Olympics, the Massachusetts Senate earned a gold medal tonight when they passed the Updated Bottle Bill.  Senate President Therese Murray,  longtime sponsor Senator Cynthia Creem, amendment author Senator Robert Hedlund, and the whole Senate is to be congratulated for passing the update, which is overwhelmingly popular with the public, small businesses, cities and towns, and a majority of state legislators. For 14 years, the bill has been stalled in various committees. Getting the Updated Bottle Bill through the Senate has now completely shifted the momentum toward victory.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post

It’s common-sense: If something you own breaks, you should be able to fix it. But manufacturers don’t see it that way. Instead, they use a set of tactics to block independent repair because they want consumers to have to come to them to do repairs. Right to Repair made considerable progress in 2019, and just a little over a month into 2020, we’re seeing continued momentum. 

News Release | MASSPIRG

Acting shortly before a committee deadline that could have killed the bill, the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Joint Committee gave a  favorable report to the Digital Right to Repair Act. If the bill ultimately becomes law, it would combat manufacturers’ near-monopoly on repair by giving the public access to the parts, tools and information needed to fix broken digital devices.

News Release | MASSPIRG

A coalition  of environmental, consumer and public interest organizations gathered with two state senators -- Senator Jamie Eldridge and Senator Michael Barrett -- in front of the State House this morning with a plastic bag ‘monster’ to to present an important message: we must REDUCE our  waste.

Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Recycling challenges vary across the country, but, overall, states are failing to both reduce unnecessary waste and adjust to a changing recycling landscape, according to a new study from U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center. The State Of Recycling U.S. National Survey looks at programs in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, providing case studies and insight into specific issues that plague recycling efforts nationwide.

Solid Waste

New federal bill calls for U.S. to move beyond plastic

On Feb. 11, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal introduced legislation that would phase out unnecessary single-use plastics, which commonly end up clogging our landfills and polluting our environment. It also provides funding for recycling and composting infrastructure, and would shift the financial burden of managing waste and recyclables from town and city governments to the manufacturers.

 

Solid Waste

Bill to reduce plastic bag waste passes Mass. Senate

Massachusetts lawmakers are making strides toward confronting our state's plastic problem. In a late-night session on Nov. 21, the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill to ban plastic grocery and retail bags — pervasive single-use waste items — across the commonwealth.

 

Solid Waste

The state of recycling

In 2019, the state of recycling is disappointing. Our report shows that in order to tackle our plastic waste crisis, we need to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics we don't need, reuse what we can, and make it possible to recycle the rest. The time to take action is now.

 

Solid Waste | U.S. PIRG

Beyond Plastic

New plan could be single biggest step our country takes to curb plastic waste

 
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