Updating the Bottle Bill

With only 23% of non-deposit containers recycled versus 80% of deposit containers, the Bottle Bill is the most effective recycling program in Massachusetts.

Stop Litter, Increase Recycling

For over a decade, MASSPIRG and a large and diverse coalition have been calling for an update of the Bottle Bill. After the more than $9 million spent by bottlers and the waste industry defeated this proposal on the November 2014 ballot, we still believe it sets the standard for effective recycling programs and are organizing support for a new bill (H.2875/S.1752), sponsored by Representative Gloria Fox (Boston) and Senator Cynthia Creem (Newton), that aims to increase the recylcing rates of all beverage containers to the high level of deposit containers.

 WHAT THE BILL DOES

  • Provides for a six-year waiting period to see if the alternative recycling methods proposed by the bottling industry have succeeded. As of 2013, 80% of containers with a deposit were recycled, but only 23% of containers without a deposit (like water bottles and sports drinks) were recycled.
  • If, after six years, that 23%, as tracked by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) doesn’t get within five percentage points of 80%, container deposits will be enacted for water bottles and sports drinks.

 WHY THE BILL IS IMPORTANT

If we passed a bottle bill update, it would:

  • Save cities and towns $7 million a year in litter pick-up and trash disposal, resulting in cleaner streets and parks.
  • Save energy and oil from being wasted. It takes 50 million barrels of oil to produce PET water bottles for the US alone.
  • Create jobs! A 2012 report by MASSPIRG and the Sierra Club estimated that 1,500 jobs would be created by updating the bottle bill.

 BOTTLE BILL FACTS

  • In Massachusetts, beverage containers compose 15.2% of solid waste by volume.
  • Container deposit laws have been shown to decrease beverage container litter by over 80% and decrease total litter by over 40%.

Issue Updates

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

Jessica Schreiber: ‘It’s just too easy and convenient to throw things away’ | Olivia Sullivan

We need to make it easier for clothing companies to reuse and recycle. Policy, data collection and nonprofits can help.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Brooke Roberts-Islam: a challenge to reducing fashion waste comes from ordering and producing ‘high volumes’ of clothing | Olivia Sullivan

We hear from the fashion industry expert and journalist on tech solutions to clothing overstock problems and how policy can drive industry change.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

U.S. PIRG Education Fund urges the public to hold Coca-Cola accountable on its pledge to reduce plastic use

The Coca-Cola Company, a top plastic polluter according to a 2020 Brand Audit from the nonprofit Break Free From Plastic, announced a new commitment today to start using plastic bottles made with 100 percent recycled plastic for select brands in some U.S. states. According to the company, it would account for a nearly 20 percent reduction of new plastic used in North America compared to 2018. The commitment follows similar ones made by other major consumer goods companies, recently documented by U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Back to Reduce: Groups call for renewed push to reduce waste

BOSTON -- In a survey of 15 Massachusetts cities, researchers at MASSPIRG found that, despite Gov. Charlie Baker’s July 13 executive order that allowed for the reinstatement of plastic bag bans and the use of reusable bags again, local delays and confusion remain in some jurisdictions. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Statement: Groups applaud environmental agency decision to revisit Solid Waste Master Plan

BOSTON -- In a move celebrated by several major environmental, grassroots and public interest organizations, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced Thursday that they would re-open the public hearing process on the draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, the Commonwealth’s blueprint for dealing with waste. After the initial hearings ended in December without sufficient public outreach, the groups started pushing for the public hearings to be reopened; through direct advocacy, letters, emails and grassroots organizing. 

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Report | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Recharge Repair

A survey looking at the rise in battery replacement requests and self-repair interest in response to news breaking that Apple was slowing down older phones to preserve battery life. 

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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.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG and the Massachusetts Sierra Club | Solid Waste

The Impact of the Bottle Bill on Jobs in the Economy

This year, Massachusetts plummeted from 15th to 21st in CNBC’s annual ranking of the health of  each state’s economy, further demonstration that more must be done to stimulate job growth in  Massachusetts. One sector with untapped job growth is Massachusetts’ recycling industry, which  already employs close to 14,000 people, has a half-billion dollar payroll, and collects $3.2 billion in revenue every year. If the pending Bottle Bill Update is passed (H.890/S.1650), a net increase of 1500 jobs is expected in the state of Massachusetts.

> Keep Reading
Report | Container Recycling Institute (CRI) | Consumer Protection, Solid Waste

Returning to Work

This study provides an intensely detailed, scenario-specific assessment of the jobs to be gained from increased recycling of what is arguably the most common, most prolific and most sought-after of all household recyclables—beverage containers.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Solid Waste

Brooke Roberts-Islam: a challenge to reducing fashion waste comes from ordering and producing ‘high volumes’ of clothing | Olivia Sullivan

We hear from the fashion industry expert and journalist on tech solutions to clothing overstock problems and how policy can drive industry change.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

We’re calling on Whole Foods to take single-use plastic packaging off its shelves | Aaron Colonnese

Harmful, unnecessary single-use plastic packaging doesn’t belong on the shelves of a grocery chain with a reputation for being environmentally conscious.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Coming clean on fast fashion’s wasteful secret | Olivia Sullivan

This year’s brands are overwhelmed with record amounts of accumulated overstock because of COVID-19 lockdowns. All that clothing has to go somewhere if it’s not being sold.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

You can help us convince Coca-Cola to break free from plastic | Aaron Colonnese

The world’s top plastic polluter — for the third year in a row — is missing a huge opportunity to reduce its waste footprint.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Progress or more of the same from top corporate plastic polluters? | Haley Clinton

For the third year in a row, the list of the largest plastic polluters in the world remains pretty much the same. According to the 2020 Brand Audit Report by Break Free From Plastic, the corporations responsible for polluting the greatest amount of plastic waste are, in order: The Coca-Cola Company; PepsiCo; Nestlé; Unilever; Mondelez International; Mars, Inc.; Procter & Gamble; Philip Morris International; Colgate-Palmolive; and Perfetti Van Melle.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Food, Solid Waste

What a waste: At least 30% of trash could be composted instead of buried or burned

Each year, America landfills and incinerates enough organic material to fill a line of 18-wheelers stretching from New York to Los Angeles 10 times over.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste, Transportation

Before we spend $2 trillion, report recommends a 'Blueprint for Tomorrow'

For all of us who rely on our roads and public transit, and our water, sewage and power systems, the agreement reached by President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders in May to commit $2 trillion to infrastructure should be good news.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Maryland and Maine become the first states to ban plastic foam. Who's next?

Maryland and Maine are the first states in the U.S. to put a plastic foam container ban on the books, but other states aren't far behind.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

More than 10,000 people pledge to skip the straw

More than 10,000 Americans said "no" to plastic straws in February. Feb. 22 marked the third annual national Skip the Straw Day—a day created by Michigan middle school students who were fed up with plastic pollution and its impact on wildlife and the planet.

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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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Pages

News Release | U.S. PIRG

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.

Blog Post

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.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

WASHINGTON -- As plastic pollution becomes an increasingly dire problem, elected officials in both chambers of Congress introduced legislation Thursday to address the issue. On Capitol Hill today, Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA) unveiled the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021, a bill to improve the health of our people and our planet.


Blog Post

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

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. 

 

Solid Waste

Cambridge resolution calls for end to moratorium on reusable bags

To reduce waste in its community, the Cambridge City Council has passed a resolution calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to lift a statewide moratorium on reusable grocery bags. The use of reusable bags was paused in March due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

 

Solid Waste

MASSPIRG applauds decision to resume bottle bill enforcement

Gov. Charlie Baker took a crucial step toward reviving waste reduction efforts in the commonwealth by restoring enforcement of the Massachusetts bottle bill. This and other plastic waste reduction policies were paused due to safety fears amid the coronavirus pandemic — fears that, a New York Times reporter found, the plastics industry inflamed.

 
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