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

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." 

> Keep Reading
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
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Hold the phone! Report shows that repairing your smartphone can save you money and our environment

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.

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Pages

Media Hit | Solid Waste

Environmentalists, businesses clash over bottle bill

BOSTON (WWLP) - 95 state lawmakers have signed onto an expanded bottle bill that proposes to extend the state’s 5-cent refundable deposit on soda cans to water bottles, sports drinks, and juice containers.

“We know that if we put the nickel deposit on those containers it will be a very effective tool at recycling them,” said MassPIRG Executive Director Janet Domenitz.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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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Blog Post | Health Care, Solid Waste

Right to Repair is a simple way to cut health care costs | Nathan Proctor

Cost containment is is a critical first step in addressing the deep faults in our health care system - it's hard to image fixing problems of access if we continue to be charged $15 for a Tylenol pill or $1,000 for a toothbrush. It turns out that overpriced equipment repair helps add to those inflated costs.

> Keep Reading
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

> Keep Reading
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. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Why is it so hard to repair our stuff? | Nathan Proctor

We generate way too much waste, and companies use their power in the marketplace to make things harder to repair. That’s the idea behind “Right to Repair” laws -- they check companies ability to limit repairs and empower us to fix our own stuff. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Boston to Consider Plastic Ban Bag | Janet Domenitz

More than 60 community organizations, advocates, membership groups, and business leaders have united to urge the Boston City Council to pass the proposed Ordinance Regarding the Reduction of Plastic Bags in Boston (Chapter 17-19). The Ordinance will significantly advance the City’s Zero Waste goals, and it will bring economic benefits to the city’s businesses, consumers, and taxpayers. Over the past two years over 50 cities and towns in Massachusetts have passed laws to reduce plastic waste. Now it is Boston’s turn.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into law on Tuesday that increases the recycled content of plastics and other products.

Blog Post

Google’s parent company, Alphabet*, faces shareholder proposal because of history of repair restrictions

Blog Post

The national chain prides itself on being a green grocer, but in reality, their promises fall short. Here are 10 steps that Whole Foods should take – many of which have already been taken by other retailers – to be more sustainable and ultimately be an industry leader once again.

Solid Waste

MASSPIRG's holiday guide offers green tips and tricks for shopping

Holiday shoppers everywhere are coming face to face with one of the most dreaded problems of the season: supply chain issues. Fortunately, MASSPIRG's report "Fixed for the Holidays" has some Right to Repair-friendly suggestions.

 

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.

 
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