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's Letter to Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beaton Regarding Proposed Expansion of Southbridge Landfill

MASSPIRG's letter to the MassDEP Secretary Matthew Beaton accompanying comments on the proposed expansion of the Southbridge Landfill, requesting that the DEP require that all phases of Casella's, the company that operates the landfill, plan receive adequate environmental review before being allowed to proceed.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Memorandum Regarding EEA No. 15356 Southbridge Recycling & Disposal Park, Draft Environmental Impact Report

On September 25th, 2015 MASSPIRG submitted comments to the Massachustts Department of Environmental Protection in regards to the unneccessary and dangerous expansion proposal of the Southbridge Landfill.

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Media Hit | Solid Waste

Resident advocate says landfill expansion not safe

Great article from Worcester Telegram featuring MASSPIRG's staff attorney Kirstie Pecci's work against the unnecessary and dangerous (both for the environment and public health) expansion of the Southbridge Landfill -- which is already one of the largest landfills in Massachusetts.

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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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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Question 2 Coalition Calls upon Industry to Promote Recycling in Massachusetts

The coalition behind Question 2, to update the bottle bill, called upon the bottling industry and supermarket chains that poured $9 million to defeat question 2 to live up to their ads and produce specific plans showing how they will work to increase the rate of recycling of non-carbonated beverage containers to 80% statewide. 

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Pages

News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Legislature Delays on Bottle Bill Again

While it may be the first day of spring on the calendar, the Legislature stopped the clock today when the massively popular Updated Bottle Bill was stalled once again. The Joint Committee on Telecom, Utilities and Energy, chaired by Rep. John Keenan of Salem and Sen. Ben Downing of Pittsfield,  ‘extended’ their review of the Bottle Bill until 6/15/12, almost one full year after the public hearing where it was considered, and  just weeks before the end of the session.  

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Media Hit | Solid Waste

South Coast Today - Hundreds of Mass. businesses support bottle bill

Advocates for updating the state's bottle recycling law to add a 5-cent deposit to juices, sports drinks and waters trumpeted support this week from 352 businesses across Massachusetts, including about 50 establishments in Salem, where one of the key lawmakers vetting the proposal lives.

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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.

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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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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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