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

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
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

After Apple Slows Phones, Interest In Repair Spikes in Massachusetts

A new survey released by MASSPIRG shows that interest in phone repair options surged as battery issues with iPhones made headlines.

Findings show that we throw out 8,100 phones each day in Massachusetts, highlighting need for expanded access to repair.

> Keep Reading
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. 

> 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.

> Keep Reading

Pages

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

Legislative Committee Kills Updated Bottle Bill

With the support of 77% of the public, 208 cities and towns, Governor Patrick, and a majority of legislators, the measure should have been swiftly adopted. "Instead of Massachusetts taking home the gold medal, by disqualifying the public's opinion, the legislature gives us more litter, more waste, and less recycling." said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Big Crowd Gathers at State House Calling for House Passage of the Updated Bottle Bill

In the wake of the state Senate’s passage of the Updated Bottle Bill last week, and with Governor Patrick a huge champion, supporters gathered today to call on Speaker Robert DeLeo and the House of Representatives to finally pass the Update after 14 years.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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.”

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post

Plastic is a problem not just for our environment, but also for our health. Chemicals used to make plastics anti-microbial, flame retardant, and more, can be toxic.

Blog Post

A look at 2020 highlights and milestones for the campaign to fix our stuff, and a look ahead to 2021

Blog Post

MASSPIRG along with Conservation Law Foundation, Community Action Works and Clean Water Action have released “Garbage in Massachusetts,” a brief description of waste and how it is disposed of in Massachusetts. This outline on trash in Massachusetts is part of our Zero Waste Campaign. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is in the process of drafting the Commonwealth’s 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, which will serve as the blueprint for how we deal with waste for the next decade.

Report | MASSPIRG

MASSPIRG along with Conservation Law Foundation, Community Action Works and Clean Water Action have released “Garbage in Massachusetts,” a brief description of waste and how it is disposed of in Massachusetts. This outline on trash in Massachusetts is part of our Zero Waste Campaign. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is in the process of drafting the Commonwealth’s 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, which will serve as the blueprint for how we deal with waste for the next decade.

Blog Post

With many cancelling annual gatherings, this is the year to think of ways to have a more sustainable, zero waste holiday season. Here are some ideas:

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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