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, 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.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Coalition Lauds Proposal to Increase Bottle Bill Handling Fee

We applaud EOEEA Secretary Rick Sullivan’s proposed regulations to increase the bottle bill handling fee. Bottle redemption centers, small, family-owned businesses that are a key part of making the bottle bill work, haven’t had a raise in the 2.25 cent handling fee for over 20 years.

> Keep Reading
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
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Big Win For Updated Bottle Bill in Senate | Janet Domenitz

In the spirit of the upcoming Olympics, the Massachusetts Senate earned a gold medal tonight when they passed the Updated Bottle Bill.  Senate President Therese Murray,  longtime sponsor Senator Cynthia Creem, amendment author Senator Robert Hedlund, and the whole Senate is to be congratulated for passing the update, which is overwhelmingly popular with the public, small businesses, cities and towns, and a majority of state legislators. For 14 years, the bill has been stalled in various committees. Getting the Updated Bottle Bill through the Senate has now completely shifted the momentum toward victory.

> Keep Reading

Pages

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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