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

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Lawmakers and public push Whole Foods to put “Planet Over Plastic” at upcoming annual meeting

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.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Statement: MASSPIRG supports COVID-19 suspension of deposit system enforcement, looks forward to expansion of program in the future

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.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Hold the phone! Report shows that repairing your smartphone can save you money and our environment

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.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Right to Repair wins the day in Massachusetts legislature, clears committee

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.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Reduce Before Recycle

A coalition  of environmental, consumer and public interest organizations gathered with two state senators -- Senator Jamie Eldridge and Senator Michael Barrett -- in front of the State House this morning with a plastic bag ‘monster’ to to present an important message: we must REDUCE our  waste.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Electronic waste is destroying the planet, but we can fix that | Anne Marie Green

Environmental advocates support ‘Right to Repair’ legislation

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Recapping our United States Against Plastic rally | Haley Clinton

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This blog is the first in a series examining policy solutions to the plastic pollution crisis that are proven and replicable. This section covers single-use plastic product bans.

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Fashion industry experts answer your questions | Olivia Sullivan

How to avoid textile “wish-cycling” and why clothing companies need to bear responsibility for the waste crisis their products create.

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News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- Apple reversed its longstanding policy against selling spare parts, providing repair instructions, and making repair software tools available to customers Wednesday with its announcement of a new Self Service Repair program. This about-face comes just days after the company pledged to stop deactivating Face ID after third parties repaired screens, and after years of advocacy and pressure by Right to Repair advocates. 

News Release | MASSPIRG

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Solid Waste

Apple corrects course on Right to Repair

Once one of the most visible opponents to repair access, Apple has now reversed its longstanding policy against making spare parts and repair software tools available to customers. The commitment came just days after the company pledged to stop deactivating Face ID for iPhone screens repaired independently.

 

Solid Waste

The Better Bottle Bill Campaign gains steam

The landmark 1982 "Bottle Bill" is one of Massachusetts' most effective recycling measures, but it's in need of an update. MASSPIRG joined state Rep. Marjorie Decker and state Sen. Cynthia Creem to launch the Update the Bottle Bill campaign that has been endorsed by The Boston Globe.

 

Solid Waste

Trash in America

The United States produces too much waste. Find out more about what’s in our trash, where it goes — and what we should do with it.

 

Solid Waste

MASSPIRG testifies: Update Bottle Bill

Many of the bottled products that end up in Massachusetts landfills and incinerators are not covered by the Bottle Bill. That’s why MASSPIRG is spearheading a campaign to update the bottle bill by expanding the products it covers and raising the redemption value from $.05 to $.10.

 
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