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

Testimony in favor of Banning Plastic Bags in Boston | Janet Domenitz

MASSPIRG urges Boston City Council to support the bag ban. Single use plastic bags are the shameful hallmark of a society that has become over dependent on things we don’t need. Nothing we use for five minutes should end up polluting our environment for hundreds of years.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Springfield Passes Resolution Opposing Repeal of the Bottle Bill

In an important demonstration of support for container deposits, the Springfield City Council unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the Massachusetts Bottle Bill on Monday, June 6th.  

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Oppose Bottle Bill Repeal | Janet Domenitz

As experts in environmental protection, public health, conservation, water quality and waste reduction, we are unanimous in our opposition to House Bill 646 -- which would repeal Massachusetts' successful Bottle Bill recycling program.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Solid Waste

At state office, residents fight landfill

MASSPIRG and Charlton residents delivered over 2,000 signatures to the MEPA Office demanding that Casella halt all expansion of the Southbridge Landfill and clean up the contamination found in residents' wells.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Solid Waste

Toxic chemical found in wells for 3 Charlton homes near landfill

MASSPIRG staff attorney warned that the Southbridge Landfill would leak. Now, a total of four homes within a half  a mile of the Southbridge Landfill have exceedances for 1,4-dioxane, a toxic chemical, in their well water. Casella Waste will be required to do further testing in a wider radius. The Board of Health of the Town of Charlton and citizens in the area are concerned about the high levels.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Ocean Spray Blasted for Opposition to Bottle Bill

In a stunning show of consumer opinion, in less than 24 hours over 1,300 people signed a statement calling on Ocean Spray to reverse its opposition to the Updated Bottle Bill. “I was truly gratified, but not surprised, by the 1,386 replies, how fast they came in, and how passionate the comments were,” stated Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG, the organization which circulated the statement. “But I think some citizens were surprised to learn that a company they purchase beverages from is blocking a recycling measure they heartily support.

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

It's time to bring the Bottle Bill Update to the floor for a vote

Big business has been using their influence to "bottle up" the bottle bill update for 14 years. Despite overwhelming support for the update by the public (77% support an update according a poll by Mass Inc), Gov. Deval Patrick, and a majority of state legislators, the bill is still stalled.

It's time to bring the Bottle Bill Update to the floor for a vote.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Solid Waste

Still waiting for state’s master plan to reduce solid waste

While it’s cause for great celebration that Massachusetts is planning to reduce waste, it’s also a reminder that the Department of Environmental Protection has yet to produce the solid waste master plan — the comprehensive, 10-year waste plan required by law. We can’t help feeling like we’re at the celebration, blindfolded, with a tail in our hands but no donkey on the wall.

 

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Contrary to Media Buzz, Bottle Bill Still Alive

Contrary to some news reports about the Massachusetts House of Representatives budget deliberations yesterday, the Updated Bottle Bill WAS NOT voted down during the budget debate. But, this serves as an important reminder that the bill, H890/S1650, is pending in the Telecom Utilities and Energy (TUE) committee.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Bottle Bill Vote High Priority for Local Municipalities

On Thursday, April 5, the town of Falmouth became the 208th municipality in Massachusetts to pass a resolution endorsing the Updated Bottle Bill (HB890/SB1650). Frustration with the Legislature, which has been sitting on this bill for over a decade, is mounting, and municipal actions like this are aimed at prompting legislative action.

> 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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