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

News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

The Better Bottle Bill: Campaign Launch

In an event today hosted by state Representative Marjorie Decker and state Senator Cynthia Creem, Massachusetts elected officials and civic leaders launched a campaign to modernize the state’s container deposit law, or “Bottle Bill”. The 1982 law is one of the state’s most effective recycling measures, but after nearly 40 years it is in need of updates to more efficiently reduce waste, litter, and municipal costs for disposal and clean up in the Commonwealth. 

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Amazon’s outrageous waste practice — and what you can do to stop it | Aaron Colonnese

Every year, Amazon destroys unsold and returned products by the millions. It's the pinnacle of unnecessary waste, and it has to stop.

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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 | U.S. PIRG | Solid Waste

Comprehensive bill calls for U.S. to move beyond plastic

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.


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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.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Solid Waste

Break Free From Plastic movement urges incoming Biden administration, Congress to reduce plastic pollution

Over 250 environmental groups, alongside U.S. PIRG, sent a thirteen key recommendations today to the 117th Congress outlining strategies on how to reduce plastic pollution through future legislative spending packages.

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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.

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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.

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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

Amazon’s outrageous waste practice — and what you can do to stop it | Aaron Colonnese

Every year, Amazon destroys unsold and returned products by the millions. It's the pinnacle of unnecessary waste, and it has to stop.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Channel your inner Woodsy Owl, the original zero-waste influencer | Mike Litt

Celebrating my favorite government mascot’s 50th birthday by sharing the zero-waste tips I have made a part of my life.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Our environment pays the price for plastic, and so do consumers

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.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Groups call on Governor Baker to adopt Zero Waste policies | Janet Domenitz

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.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

"Reduce" comes first: MASSPIRG testifies on behalf of state ban on polystyrene food containers

If a plastic product is rarely reused, and virtually never recycled, then reduce is the only way to go.

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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.

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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.

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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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Pages

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- Apple reversed its longstanding policy against selling spare parts, providing repair instructions, and making repair software tools available to customers Wednesday with its announcement of a new Self Service Repair program. This about-face comes just days after the company pledged to stop deactivating Face ID after third parties repaired screens, and after years of advocacy and pressure by Right to Repair advocates. 

News Release | MASSPIRG

Boston, MA: With one day’s notice, the MA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) held a webinar today at 2pm EST to release their 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan (SWMP). And while some new initiatives were announced, the Plan falls far short of what is needed to curb climate pollution from trash, improve public health, and eliminate the burdens on environmental justice communities in the commonwealth.

Solid Waste

Apple corrects course on Right to Repair

Once one of the most visible opponents to repair access, Apple has now reversed its longstanding policy against making spare parts and repair software tools available to customers. The commitment came just days after the company pledged to stop deactivating Face ID for iPhone screens repaired independently.

 

Solid Waste

The Better Bottle Bill Campaign gains steam

The landmark 1982 "Bottle Bill" is one of Massachusetts' most effective recycling measures, but it's in need of an update. MASSPIRG joined state Rep. Marjorie Decker and state Sen. Cynthia Creem to launch the Update the Bottle Bill campaign that has been endorsed by The Boston Globe.

 

Solid Waste

Trash in America

The United States produces too much waste. Find out more about what’s in our trash, where it goes — and what we should do with it.

 

Solid Waste

MASSPIRG testifies: Update Bottle Bill

Many of the bottled products that end up in Massachusetts landfills and incinerators are not covered by the Bottle Bill. That’s why MASSPIRG is spearheading a campaign to update the bottle bill by expanding the products it covers and raising the redemption value from $.05 to $.10.

 
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