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

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.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

March Madness and the Updated Bottle Bill | Janet Domenitz

The TUE committee postpones moving the bill out of Committee (technically called an ‘extension’), AGAIN.

> Keep Reading
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.  

> Keep Reading

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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.

Blog Post

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. 

News Release | MASSPIRG

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.

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.

 

Solid Waste

Bill to reduce plastic bag waste passes Mass. Senate

Massachusetts lawmakers are making strides toward confronting our state's plastic problem. In a late-night session on Nov. 21, the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill to ban plastic grocery and retail bags — pervasive single-use waste items — across the commonwealth.

 

Solid Waste

The state of recycling

In 2019, the state of recycling is disappointing. Our report shows that in order to tackle our plastic waste crisis, we need to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics we don't need, reuse what we can, and make it possible to recycle the rest. The time to take action is now.

 
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