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

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.

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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.

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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.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Right to Repair surges forward on multiple fronts to start 2020 | Nathan Proctor

It’s common-sense: If something you own breaks, you should be able to fix it. But manufacturers don’t see it that way. Instead, they use a set of tactics to block independent repair because they want consumers to have to come to them to do repairs. Right to Repair made considerable progress in 2019, and just a little over a month into 2020, we’re seeing continued momentum. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Right to Repair wins the day in Massachusetts legislature, clears committee

Acting shortly before a committee deadline that could have killed the bill, the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Joint Committee gave a  favorable report to the Digital Right to Repair Act. If the bill ultimately becomes law, it would combat manufacturers’ near-monopoly on repair by giving the public access to the parts, tools and information needed to fix broken digital devices.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Janet Domenitz's testimony in favor of banning plastic bags | Janet Domenitz

The proliferation of plastic bag use has been a disaster for the environment of Massachusetts, as well as the rest of the world. Luckily, there's a simple solution: banning plastic bags. MASSPIRG's Janet Domenitz and Emily Olson testified before the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture in favor of a number of bills to monitor, limit, and ban plastic bag use in Massachusetts. 

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Janet Domenitz speaks at MassVote Ballot Question Forum on 10/29 | Ben Martin-McDonough

Janet Domenitz represented the Yes on 2 campaign at a MassVote Forum on 10/29 in Roxbury.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Janert Domenitz to speak at Ballot Questions Forum on Wednesday, 10/29 | Ben Martin-McDonough

Janert Domenitz to speak at Ballot Questions Forum hosted by the The Boston 500 tonight, 10/29, from 6:30-8pm at the Twelfth Baptist Church on 160 Warren Street in Roxbury

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Video Blog | Solid Waste

Jimmy Tingle & the Battle for the Updated Bottle Bill

Perhaps the most fun we've ever had at a political rally, Jimmy Tingle's "Battle for the Bottle Bill" is now online for your viewing pleasure.

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News Release | MASSPIRG

Massachusetts consumer and environmental advocacy groups are calling for Attorney General Maura Healey to join a new investigation launched by California Attorney General Rob Bonta. On Thursday, Attorney General Bonta announced an investigation into the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries for their alleged role in causing and exacerbating the global plastics pollution crisis. The California attorney general’s investigation aims to examine the industries' efforts to deceive the public, stating that these industries have “aggressively promoted the development of oil-based plastic products and campaigned to minimize the public’s understanding of the harmful consequences of these products.”

Blog Post

We all play a role in creating food waste, so we can all be part of the solution.

News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund

BOSTON -- Consumers often don’t know which products will last and they’ll be able to fix, or which manufacturers make fixable devices and support Right to Repair. A new scorecard from MASSPIRG Education Fund, “Failing the Fix,” ranks the most popular cell phone and laptop makers for consumers who seek to purchase easily repairable products – especially those from companies who do not fight Right to Repair.

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON, Mass. — In a move that gives the campaign significant momentum, both the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) officially endorsed the Better Bottle Bill (H.3289/S.2149), a bill that would update the state’s nearly 40 year old container deposit law. Bottle Bills are the best recycling programs for reducing waste and litter from beverage containers, but a lot has changed since the original Bottle Bill was adopted in 1983. This bill, sponsored by Representative Marjorie Decker (Cambridge) and Senator Cynthia Creem (Newton), includes more types of beverage containers — like water bottles, sports drinks, iced teas, miniatures, and more —  many of which did not exist when the original law passed. It also increases the deposit from 5¢ to 10¢ as states like Michigan and Oregon have done already. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

ATLANTA--- The Coca-Cola Co., the world’s top plastic polluter according to a recent Global Brand Audit, announced on Thursday a new commitment to use refillable or returnable glass or plastic bottles – or refillable containers at fountains and dispensers – for at least 25% of global beverage sales across its entire brand portfolio by 2030.

Solid Waste

PIRG hosts webinar with MythBusters' Adam Savage on Right to Repair

Our national network and the Right to Repair team organized a summit featuring keynote speaker Adam Savage from MythBusters. He shared his thoughts with us on the movement and we discussed our current progress on the Right to Repair campaign.

 

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.

 

Solid Waste

MASSPIRG testifies: Update Bottle Bill

Many of the bottled products that end up in Massachusetts landfills and incinerators are not covered by the Bottle Bill. That’s why MASSPIRG is spearheading a campaign to update the bottle bill by expanding the products it covers and raising the redemption value from $.05 to $.10.

 
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