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 | Solid Waste

Where There's Smoking, There's Fire

Across the nation, over 1,000 people are killed and 3,000 injured as a result of cigarette fires each year. These fires cause more than $400 million in property damage. In Massachusetts alone in 2000, 1,280 fires were attributed to cigarettes. Those fires killed 17 people, injured 81 civilians, and wounded 61 firefighters in the line of duty. Insurers and property owners lost over $9.3 million due to the same blazes. Despite igniting 5% of the 24,931 reported fires in 2000, cigarette fires killed 17 civilians, or 22% of all civilian fires deaths

> Keep Reading
Result | Solid Waste

Working To Update The Bottle Bill

MASSPIRG helped to win the original Bottle Bill in 1982, and we’ve helped build support to update the landmark recycling law to include millions of new containers, including bottled water.

> Keep Reading

Pages

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:

Blog Post

What the latest move by the European Parliament means and how multiple approaches to advancing repair strengthen each other

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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