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

Media Hit | Solid Waste

At state office, residents fight landfill

MASSPIRG and Charlton residents delivered over 2,000 signatures to the MEPA Office demanding that Casella halt all expansion of the Southbridge Landfill and clean up the contamination found in residents' wells.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Solid Waste

Toxic chemical found in wells for 3 Charlton homes near landfill

MASSPIRG staff attorney warned that the Southbridge Landfill would leak. Now, a total of four homes within a half  a mile of the Southbridge Landfill have exceedances for 1,4-dioxane, a toxic chemical, in their well water. Casella Waste will be required to do further testing in a wider radius. The Board of Health of the Town of Charlton and citizens in the area are concerned about the high levels.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

MASSPIRG's Letter to Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beaton Regarding Proposed Expansion of Southbridge Landfill

MASSPIRG's letter to the MassDEP Secretary Matthew Beaton accompanying comments on the proposed expansion of the Southbridge Landfill, requesting that the DEP require that all phases of Casella's, the company that operates the landfill, plan receive adequate environmental review before being allowed to proceed.

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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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Media Hit | Solid Waste

Resident advocate says landfill expansion not safe

Great article from Worcester Telegram featuring MASSPIRG's staff attorney Kirstie Pecci's work against the unnecessary and dangerous (both for the environment and public health) expansion of the Southbridge Landfill -- which is already one of the largest landfills in Massachusetts.

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News Release | MASSPIRG and Toxics Action Center | Solid Waste

Don’t Waste Massachusetts Calls for Release of Waste Plan

Two years ago this July 1st, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released its draft Solid Waste Master Plan for 2010 – 2020, “Pathway to Zero Waste.”  Following the release, DEP held five public hearings on the Plan across the state and received input from municipalities, businesses and industry, recycling advocacy groups, and hundreds of citizens.  And since then, the draft Solid Waste Master Plan – the state’s number one guiding document on all things waste – has been sitting on the shelf, gathering dust, waiting to be finalized and shown to the public.

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

Back-room, closed-door maneuvers postpone action on Updated Bottle Bill

Despite a legislative committee’s vote to bury a proposal to update the state’s Bottle Bill, proponents pledged to continue their push for the bill’s passage before the end of the legislative session.

 “The idea of sending it to a ‘study’ is an insult to the public of Massachusetts,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG. “The bill has been studied, restudied, and studied once again. Seventy-seven percent of the public supports it, a majority of legislators (105) are on record endorsing it, and 208 cities and towns have passed resolutions in favor of it. Burying this bill today shows how profoundly out of touch a few legislators on this one committee are with their constituents. There is no alternative, better way, nor substitute for the enormously successful deposit system.”

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

Majority of Legislators on Record Supporting Updated Bottle Bill

View the vote chart

Watch the video

In a turn of events that gives big momentum to the legislation, a majority of both the House and the Senate are now on record in favor of the Updated Bottle Bill, a proposal to add a 5-cent deposit to water bottles, sports drinks, iced teas and similar beverages. Proponents gathered on the steps of the State House this morning to call for its immediate passage.
Keep reading for video.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Ocean Spray Blasted for Opposition to Bottle Bill

In a stunning show of consumer opinion, in less than 24 hours over 1,300 people signed a statement calling on Ocean Spray to reverse its opposition to the Updated Bottle Bill. “I was truly gratified, but not surprised, by the 1,386 replies, how fast they came in, and how passionate the comments were,” stated Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG, the organization which circulated the statement. “But I think some citizens were surprised to learn that a company they purchase beverages from is blocking a recycling measure they heartily support.

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News Release | MASSPIRG and the Massachusetts Sierra Club | Solid Waste

It's time to bring the Bottle Bill Update to the floor for a vote

Big business has been using their influence to "bottle up" the bottle bill update for 14 years. Despite overwhelming support for the update by the public (77% support an update according a poll by Mass Inc), Gov. Deval Patrick, and a majority of state legislators, the bill is still stalled.

It's time to bring the Bottle Bill Update to the floor for a vote.

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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

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

 

Solid Waste | MASSPIRG

Legislative committee severely weakens plastic bag ban

MASSPIRG and our allies are working to restore a strong bag ban bill and support communities that have already banned plastic grocery bags.

 
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