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 | 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

Here’s how manufacturers argue against repair. | Nathan Proctor

In March, the FTC announced a new workshop called “Nixing the Fix,” which will investigate how companies “limit repairs by consumers and repair shops and whether those limitations affect consumer protection, including consumers’ rights.” Last week, the FTC posted submitted comments for it's Nixing the Fix workshop, and by reviewing those comments, it's clear that manufacturers and their lobbying associations are doubling down on their arguments.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Groups call on Governor Baker to make Zero Waste the Commonwealth’s Goal by 2030

MASSPIRG called on Governor Charlie Baker to turn the upcoming 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan into a Zero Waste Master Plan for the Commonwealth.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

New report provides best practices for composting waste

Composting all organic waste -- including food scraps and yard trimmings -- could eliminate nearly one-third of all materials sent to landfills and trash incinerators across the United States. That’s according to Composting in America, a new report released today by the MASSPIRG Education Fund and the Frontier Group. The report outlines best practices for composting programs, which are critical for mitigating the negative impact of waste on the climate and public health.    

> Keep Reading

Pages

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.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Senate passes Updated Bottle Bill

 

“It’s high time to update the Bottle Bill,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG. “We’ve been pushing for this update for a long time, but the bottlers and big beverage industry lobbyists have been pushing back. We are now optimistic that with the support of the Senate, and Governor Patrick, the House will move quickly to adopt this amendment.”

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

MASSPIRG Submits Testimony to Increase Bottle Bill Handling Fee

MASSPIRG supports Secretary Rick Sullivan’s proposal to increase the bottle bill “handling fee” by one penny, from 2.25c per container to 3.25c per container.  The handling fee is what the distributor pays the retailer for handling the empty containers, a key part of making the bottle bill work (the handling fee has nothing to do with the deposit, which consumers pay, and get redeemed when they return the container). This is a common sense and long overdue proposal.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG, Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill | Solid Waste

Updated Bottle Bill Builds Steam

In a sign that the Updated Bottle Bill has more support on Beacon Hill than ever before, the final tally of cosponsors in the Legislature included the highest number the bill has ever garnered, coming at at 95 (75 in the House, 25 in the Senate). Giving the measure even more momentum, on Friday, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan proposed an increase in the bottle bill handling fee.  This handling fee (which has nothing to do with the 5-cent deposit) is what the bottling industry pays redemption centers, grocery stores, and other businesses for collecting and transporting bottles and cans for recycling.

> Keep Reading

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Bottle Bill Update Special Event | Janet Domenitz

Join Bottle Bill Update advocates and supporters to show your support for this important legislation!  Over the past few weeks, members of the Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill have been putting together a Scorecard showing every state legislator's position. At this event, we'll be feature the release of Legislative Scorecard showing majority support. We have approximately 7 weeks left to get the bill through and we need to tell the legislature that we want this bill to come for a vote!

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Salem Citizens Call on Keenan to Update the Bottle Bill | Janet Domenitz

Citizens in Salem are clamoring for the Updated Bottle Bill. Check out this Letter to the Editor from the Salem News:

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

March Madness and the Updated Bottle Bill | Janet Domenitz

The TUE committee postpones moving the bill out of Committee (technically called an ‘extension’), AGAIN.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

AUSTIN, Texas --  U.S. PIRG Education Fund , Environment America Research & Policy Center, and Student PIRG sent 59,000 petitions and a letter signed by more than 40 state lawmakers Thursday to Whole Foods urging the company to commit to a comprehensive plan for phasing out single-use plastic packaging from its stores. This follows a March 2021 letter signed by more than 130 advocacy and community groups calling on the national supermarket chain to adopt a bold response to the plastic pollution crisis.

Blog Post

We need policies like Right to Repair to address the dangerous flood of electronics waste

Blog Post

This pandemic year intensified both our waste generation and our grasp of its unsustainability.

Blog Post

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. 

Blog Post

Environmental advocates support ‘Right to Repair’ legislation

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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