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

Media Hit | Solid Waste

Advertisements with inaccurate data aid foes of wider bottle law

A barrage of critical television advertisements containing information that state statistics show is false has apparently led to a dramatic increase in opposition to a November ballot proposal to expand the state bottle law.

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Media Hit | Solid Waste

Thirty years later, they’re still pushing the bottle bill

MASSPIRG's Executive Director Janet Domenitz's career as political organizer and effort to update the Bottle Bill on the ballot this November. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Updated Bottle Bill Heads to November Ballot

A broad coalition files petition signatures to qualify updated Bottle Bill for the ballot.

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Media Hit | Solid Waste

Boston Globe - For livelier debate over ideas, House must get bills on floor

TODAY’S STATE Legislature is a less democratic place than it was a quarter century ago. There are fewer open debates on bills, and rank-and-file members have less influence. One big reason for that is the tight control House leadership exercises over the legislative agenda.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Solid Waste

Updated Bottle Bill Campaign Announces Business Support

In a move designed to counter the big business lobbyists who oppose the bill, the Campaign for an Updated Bottle Bill today launched “Businesses for the Updated Bottle Bill,” an effort which has already garnered the endorsement of 350 small businesses around the state.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Bridgewater becomes the 205th “Bottle Bill Update” Community

Bridgewater Town Council voted unanimously on November 22 to support an update to the state’s Bottle Bill, the 5¢ deposit on beverage containers.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Two Hundred Mark Hit: Norfolk becomes 200th municipality to endorse Updated Bottle Bill

The coalition to update the Bottle Bill announced today that over 200 cities and towns have passed resolutions in support of this pending legislation.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Environmental Agency’s Report Praises Bottle Bill Update

The Department of Environmental Protection has just released a sweeping report that undermines industry claims of future price increases if the current proposal to update the Bottle Bill is enacted. The report includes a survey of neighboring states and the impacts of bottle bill updates.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | MASSPIRG

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. 

News Release | MASSPIRG

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." 

News Release | MASSPIRG

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.

News Release | MASSPIRG

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.

News Release | MASSPIRG

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.

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.

 

Solid Waste

The Fix Is In

Our survey found that independent repair shops currently offer many repair options that some manufacturers don’t make available. Apple and others are making it harder for individuals and independent repair shops to fix our devices.

 

Solid Waste

New federal bill calls for U.S. to move beyond plastic

On Feb. 11, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal introduced legislation that would phase out unnecessary single-use plastics, which commonly end up clogging our landfills and polluting our environment. It also provides funding for recycling and composting infrastructure, and would shift the financial burden of managing waste and recyclables from town and city governments to the manufacturers.

 
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