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

Report | MASSPIRG and the Massachusetts Sierra Club | Solid Waste

The Impact of the Bottle Bill on Jobs in the Economy

This year, Massachusetts plummeted from 15th to 21st in CNBC’s annual ranking of the health of  each state’s economy, further demonstration that more must be done to stimulate job growth in  Massachusetts. One sector with untapped job growth is Massachusetts’ recycling industry, which  already employs close to 14,000 people, has a half-billion dollar payroll, and collects $3.2 billion in revenue every year. If the pending Bottle Bill Update is passed (H.890/S.1650), a net increase of 1500 jobs is expected in the state of Massachusetts.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG and Toxics Action Center | Solid Waste

Don’t Waste Massachusetts Calls for Release of Waste Plan

Two years ago this July 1st, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released its draft Solid Waste Master Plan for 2010 – 2020, “Pathway to Zero Waste.”  Following the release, DEP held five public hearings on the Plan across the state and received input from municipalities, businesses and industry, recycling advocacy groups, and hundreds of citizens.  And since then, the draft Solid Waste Master Plan – the state’s number one guiding document on all things waste – has been sitting on the shelf, gathering dust, waiting to be finalized and shown to the public.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill | Solid Waste

Back-room, closed-door maneuvers postpone action on Updated Bottle Bill

Despite a legislative committee’s vote to bury a proposal to update the state’s Bottle Bill, proponents pledged to continue their push for the bill’s passage before the end of the legislative session.

 “The idea of sending it to a ‘study’ is an insult to the public of Massachusetts,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG. “The bill has been studied, restudied, and studied once again. Seventy-seven percent of the public supports it, a majority of legislators (105) are on record endorsing it, and 208 cities and towns have passed resolutions in favor of it. Burying this bill today shows how profoundly out of touch a few legislators on this one committee are with their constituents. There is no alternative, better way, nor substitute for the enormously successful deposit system.”

> Keep Reading
News Release | Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill | Solid Waste

Majority of Legislators on Record Supporting Updated Bottle Bill

View the vote chart

Watch the video

In a turn of events that gives big momentum to the legislation, a majority of both the House and the Senate are now on record in favor of the Updated Bottle Bill, a proposal to add a 5-cent deposit to water bottles, sports drinks, iced teas and similar beverages. Proponents gathered on the steps of the State House this morning to call for its immediate passage.
Keep reading for video.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Ocean Spray Blasted for Opposition to Bottle Bill

In a stunning show of consumer opinion, in less than 24 hours over 1,300 people signed a statement calling on Ocean Spray to reverse its opposition to the Updated Bottle Bill. “I was truly gratified, but not surprised, by the 1,386 replies, how fast they came in, and how passionate the comments were,” stated Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG, the organization which circulated the statement. “But I think some citizens were surprised to learn that a company they purchase beverages from is blocking a recycling measure they heartily support.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

AUSTIN, Texas --  U.S. PIRG Education Fund , Environment America Research & Policy Center, and Student PIRG sent 59,000 petitions and a letter signed by more than 40 state lawmakers Thursday to Whole Foods urging the company to commit to a comprehensive plan for phasing out single-use plastic packaging from its stores. This follows a March 2021 letter signed by more than 130 advocacy and community groups calling on the national supermarket chain to adopt a bold response to the plastic pollution crisis.

Blog Post

We need policies like Right to Repair to address the dangerous flood of electronics waste

Blog Post

This pandemic year intensified both our waste generation and our grasp of its unsustainability.

Blog Post

Unrestrained by the Right to Repair, companies test the boundaries of ownership. People are pushing back, and recently forced the craft device maker Cricut to abandon a change to its terms of use. 

Blog Post

Environmental advocates support ‘Right to Repair’ legislation

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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