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 | U.S. PIRG | Solid Waste

Plastic pollution: One day, three solutions

One day, three decisions -- all of which may have far-reaching effects on plastic pollution in the United States.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Making our devices more fixable with ecodesign | Nathan Proctor

A conversation with Restart Project Co-Founder Ugo Vallauri about progress around ecodesign in Europe and how that connects to Right to Repair in the United States

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

Groups Call for Zero Waste Master Plan

(Boston, MA) On the eve of the Commonwealth’s drafting of their next Solid Waste Master Plan, several organizations are calling for robust changes to that Plan, including a clear and enforceable commitment to policies that enact zero waste. “We cannot recycle our way out of the disposal problems in Massachusetts,” said Janet Domenitz, MASSPIRG Executive Director, who provided editorial support to a national report entitled Trash in America earlier this year.  “We need to turn the garbage truck around, and commit to a goal of zero waste.”

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

Trash in Massachusetts: State of the State

After decades of focusing on the 'recycling' part of reduce, reuse, recycle, it's time to step back and truly consider the first mandate in that mantra: Reduce. We cannot recycle our way out of all the waste we create. As the attached national report chronicles, we are trashing our health and our environment by producing too much stuff, most of which ends up in landfills, incinerators, or as litter.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Countries are taking Apple to court over Right to Repair — and sometimes, they’re winning | Nathan Proctor

Apple was fined in Australia for disabling phones which were independently repaired, in a victory for Right to Repair advocates. 

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Pages

Media Hit | Solid Waste

WITH BALLOT QUESTION IN THE WORKS, LAWMAKERS HEAR BOTTLE BILL DEBATE

Proposals to expand the bottle deposit were before lawmakers on the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee for a legislative hearing. Frustrated with lawmakers, the bill’s supporters are also angling to put the proposal on the 2014 ballot.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Broad Coalition Calls For Passage of the Updated Bottle Bill

MASSPIRG testifies before the State House Joint Committee on Telecom, Utilities and Energy and urges them to pass the Updated Bottle Bill.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

MASSPIRG, Coalition File to Put Updated Bottle Bill on Ballot

Today we are filing today a ballot initiative known as the Updated Bottle Bill. This proposed law would add water, juice, sports drinks and other beverages to the existing 5-cent deposit law. When this measure becomes law, there will be less litter, more recycling, and millions of taxpayer dollars saved in the reduced cost of waste disposal in our cities and towns.

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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

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.

News Release | MASSPIRG

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.

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.

Solid Waste

The Fix Is In

Our survey found that independent repair shops currently offer many repair options that some manufacturers don’t make available. Apple and others are making it harder for individuals and independent repair shops to fix our devices.

 

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.

 
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