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

Blog Post | Solid Waste

More than 10,000 people pledge to skip the straw

More than 10,000 Americans said "no" to plastic straws in February. Feb. 22 marked the third annual national Skip the Straw Day—a day created by Michigan middle school students who were fed up with plastic pollution and its impact on wildlife and the planet.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Skip the Straw

MASSPIRG and Environment Massachusetts join national call to Skip the Straw.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Nestle plans to phase out plastic straws as more corporations respond to consumer demand

Nestle is responding to consumer demands to reduce plastic waste.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

MASSPIRG Statement on Launch of Plastic Bag Ban in Boston

MASSPIRG issued a statement on the launch of the City of Boston's plastic bag ban.

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Pages

Media Hit | Solid Waste

Toxic chemical found in wells for 3 Charlton homes near landfill

MASSPIRG staff attorney warned that the Southbridge Landfill would leak. Now, a total of four homes within a half  a mile of the Southbridge Landfill have exceedances for 1,4-dioxane, a toxic chemical, in their well water. Casella Waste will be required to do further testing in a wider radius. The Board of Health of the Town of Charlton and citizens in the area are concerned about the high levels.

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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.

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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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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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Media Hit | Solid Waste

Yes on Question 2: Expand the bottle bill

For the whole of Massachusetts, and its future as a region that seeks to limit its environmental footprint, the benefits of expanding the bottle bill are clear.

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Pages

Blog Post | Solid Waste

Why is it so hard to repair our stuff? | Nathan Proctor

We generate way too much waste, and companies use their power in the marketplace to make things harder to repair. That’s the idea behind “Right to Repair” laws -- they check companies ability to limit repairs and empower us to fix our own stuff. 

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Boston to Consider Plastic Ban Bag | Janet Domenitz

More than 60 community organizations, advocates, membership groups, and business leaders have united to urge the Boston City Council to pass the proposed Ordinance Regarding the Reduction of Plastic Bags in Boston (Chapter 17-19). The Ordinance will significantly advance the City’s Zero Waste goals, and it will bring economic benefits to the city’s businesses, consumers, and taxpayers. Over the past two years over 50 cities and towns in Massachusetts have passed laws to reduce plastic waste. Now it is Boston’s turn.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Testimony in favor of Banning Plastic Bags in Boston | Janet Domenitz

MASSPIRG urges Boston City Council to support the bag ban. Single use plastic bags are the shameful hallmark of a society that has become over dependent on things we don’t need. Nothing we use for five minutes should end up polluting our environment for hundreds of years.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Oppose Bottle Bill Repeal | Janet Domenitz

As experts in environmental protection, public health, conservation, water quality and waste reduction, we are unanimous in our opposition to House Bill 646 -- which would repeal Massachusetts' successful Bottle Bill recycling program.

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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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Pages

Blog Post

The number of statewide plastic bag bans in the U.S. tripled in June, with Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Oregon adding themselves to the list.

Blog Post

We've been telling everybody who will listen that the companies that make electronics and other products should make it easier to repair your stuff. In July, we got to tell the Federal Trade Commission...

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- While New Englanders’ thriftiness is alive and well, a new report released today by the MASSPIRG Education Fund, “What are Bay Staters Trying to Fix?” chronicles some big obstacles in their way. The report analyzes data from the popular repair website iFixit.com and looks at what items people in Massachusetts are trying to fix, and why that can be harder than it should be.

Report | MASSPIRG

Here in Massachusetts, we want to fix our stuff.

Something breaks, or doesn’t work right. You could throw it away, but you don’t want to be wasteful so you try to figure out how to get it fixed.

 

According to a review of data from iFixit, a self-described “repair guide for everything, written by everyone,” 1.6 million unique users from Massachusetts went onto their website www.ifixit.com to look up how to repair something in 2018. That’s about 23 percent, nearly 1 in 4 Massachusetts residents.

Looking more closely into that data from iFixit, the top ten device types that Bay Staters attempted to fix were cell phones, laptops, automobiles, desktop computers, gaming consoles, tablets, clothing, watches, wireless speakers and iPods. Cell phone repair guides were by far the most popular, receiving 26 percent of all the page views.

Blog Post

If a plastic product is rarely reused, and virtually never recycled, then reduce is the only way to go.

Solid Waste | MASSPIRG

Legislative committee severely weakens plastic bag ban

MASSPIRG and our allies are working to restore a strong bag ban bill and support communities that have already banned plastic grocery bags.

 

Solid Waste | U.S. PIRG

We want the right to repair our stuff

Companies make it hard to repair our phones and other electronics so more of us trash our old stuff and buy new stuff. The Federal Trade Commission can make it easier.

 

Solid Waste | U.S. PIRG

Let's move beyond plastic

Nothing we use for a few minutes should threaten our health and pollute our future for hundreds of years. One of the best ways to reduce the amount of trash headed to landfills is to ban items such as plastic foam cups and takeout containers.

 

Solid Waste | U.S. PIRG

Let's move beyond plastic

Nothing we use for a few minutes should threaten our health and pollute our future for hundreds of years. One of the best ways to reduce the amount of trash headed to landfills is to ban items such as plastic foam cups and takeout containers.

 
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