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

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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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Recapping our United States Against Plastic rally | Haley Clinton

U.S. PIRG and Environment America went on a virtual road trip to discuss policies to combat the plastic pollution crisis

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Solid Waste

Cross-country virtual road trip puts fight against plastic pollution on the map

DENVER — U.S. PIRG and Environment America hosted a virtual road trip Friday with state representatives and senators from across the country to celebrate and discuss dozens of policies to combat the plastic pollution crisis. The nationwide rally touched on efforts to hold companies, such as Whole Foods, accountable for their contribution to the problem, as well as highlighting groundbreaking federal legislation such as the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Solid Waste

Students host hundreds of local actions for Youth Earth Week

BOSTON - The Student PIRGs, a student environmental organizing group, is partnering with local organizations, student governments and elected officials to host in-person and virtual actions to celebrate Youth Earth Week, a national effort of more than 250 actions around the country to protect the environment, from April 19 to 23.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Statement : MASSPIRG Thanks Cambridge City Council for Resolution on Bags

The Cambridge City Council, at the behest of Councillors Patty Nolan and Quinton Zondervan, unanimously passed a resolution calling on "..the Governor to end the ban on reusable bags and allow municipalities to enforce their own bag restrictions." 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

MASSPIRG lauds Massachusetts’ decision to restart bottle bill enforcement

BOSTON -- Gov.Charlie Baker announced Friday that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the State Attorney General’s Office will resume enforcement of beverage container redemption requirements in June. MASSPIRG praises decision.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Statement: MASSPIRG supports COVID-19 suspension of deposit system enforcement, looks forward to expansion of program in the future

Out of an abundance of caution due to the spread of COVID-19 in the state, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office announced  that they are suspending enforcement of the requirements for retailers to accept beverage containers that have a deposit. This decision is effective immediately and until further notice or until the current state of emergency is terminated.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Hold the phone! Report shows that repairing your smartphone can save you money and our environment

We rely on our smartphones. When they break, we need them fixed — fast. Unfortunately, there are numerous barriers to fixing our phones. Manufacturers offer a dearth of repair options or digitally lock our phones so we can’t repair them. And when we can’t fix them, and have to get rid of them and buy new ones, that has terrible consequences for our environment.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Right to Repair wins the day in Massachusetts legislature, clears committee

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.

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Report | Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance | Solid Waste

An Industry Blowing Smoke

Studies that have comprehensively reviewed gasification, pyrolysis and plasma incinerators have found that they provide little to no benefit when compared to mass burn incinerators, while being an even riskier investment.

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Toxic Pollution And Health

Industries across the United States pump billions of pounds of toxic chemicals into our air, land, and water each year, many of which can cause cancer and other severe health effects. The Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program provides Americans with the best information about toxic chemicals released in their communities.

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2006 Congressional Score Card

The 2006 Scorecard looks at the most important public interest votes taken between February 9, 2005 and February 1, 2006 in the U.S. Congress. These votes determined the direction of federal policy on critical issues ranging from environmental preservation to health care to consumer protections.

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Report | Solid Waste

Where There's Smoking, There's Fire

Across the nation, over 1,000 people are killed and 3,000 injured as a result of cigarette fires each year. These fires cause more than $400 million in property damage. In Massachusetts alone in 2000, 1,280 fires were attributed to cigarettes. Those fires killed 17 people, injured 81 civilians, and wounded 61 firefighters in the line of duty. Insurers and property owners lost over $9.3 million due to the same blazes. Despite igniting 5% of the 24,931 reported fires in 2000, cigarette fires killed 17 civilians, or 22% of all civilian fires deaths

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Recapping our United States Against Plastic rally | Haley Clinton

U.S. PIRG and Environment America went on a virtual road trip to discuss policies to combat the plastic pollution crisis

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Plastic waste solutions hiding in plain sight: Single-use plastic product bans | Haley Clinton

This blog is the first in a series examining policy solutions to the plastic pollution crisis that are proven and replicable. This section covers single-use plastic product bans.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Fashion industry experts answer your questions | Olivia Sullivan

How to avoid textile “wish-cycling” and why clothing companies need to bear responsibility for the waste crisis their products create.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Elizabeth L. Cline: we need policy to stop new clothes from making a ‘straight line’ to the landfill | Olivia Sullivan

We hear from the author and journalist on secondhand clothing, the fashion industry’s addiction to cheap fossil fuels and how to break the waste cycle.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Nestle plans to phase out plastic straws as more corporations respond to consumer demand

Nestle is responding to consumer demands to reduce plastic waste.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Fixing your device just got easier: Right to repair movement scores major win

Repairing your electronic device just got a little easier thanks to a seemingly unexpected source: The Library of Congress.

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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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