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, Transportation

Before we spend $2 trillion, report recommends a 'Blueprint for Tomorrow'

For all of us who rely on our roads and public transit, and our water, sewage and power systems, the agreement reached by President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders in May to commit $2 trillion to infrastructure should be good news.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Maryland and Maine become the first states to ban plastic foam. Who's next?

Maryland and Maine are the first states in the U.S. to put a plastic foam container ban on the books, but other states aren't far behind.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Leading cyber-security experts endorse right to repair | Nathan Proctor

In many places, industry representatives, speaking for the manufacturers, say right to repair is a cybersecurity issue. If we let consumers or independent repair techs access tech manuals, diagnostic software or firmware patches it will mean the loss of security of our electronics … or so the claims go. It turns out that the who’s who of cyber-security experts disagree with these industry claims, and believe a more open repair market improves security. 

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News Release | Solid Waste

After warning companies that "Void Warranty if Removed" are illegal, the FTC is expanding their investigation into anti-repair practices

This announcement comes after the FTC sent warning letters last April to six companies saying their "void warranty if removed" stickers violated consumer rights under Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act. A subsequent survey in October by U.S. PIRG Education Fund, "Warranties in the Void," showed that such anti-repair activity was even more widespread. The study surveyed 50 members of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and found the 45 would void warranties for independent repair. 

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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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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

Video Blog | Solid Waste

Jimmy Tingle & the Battle for the Updated Bottle Bill

Perhaps the most fun we've ever had at a political rally, Jimmy Tingle's "Battle for the Bottle Bill" is now online for your viewing pleasure.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Join me and Jimmy Tingle Saturday, April 6, 7PM | Janet Domenitz

As we campaign for recycling and other public interest issues, sometimes we forget an important thing: having fun. We're lucky enough that nationally known comedian Jimmy Tingle is hosting an event on Saturday night, April 6, at the Regent Theater in Arlington, to promote passage of the Updated Bottle Bill and to have some fun doing it. While I've never been mistaken for a stand-up comedian, Jimmy has invited me to part of the program, so please come and laugh at, I mean with, me.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Letter from Mayor Menino: Raise the Bottle Bill handling fee | Janet Domenitz

MASSPIRG is excited that Mayor Menino has put his support firmly behind raising the handling fee for redemption centers. Raising the fee will help locally owned redemption centers stay in business, and make it easier for Bay Staters to recycle.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Big Win For Updated Bottle Bill in Senate | Janet Domenitz

In the spirit of the upcoming Olympics, the Massachusetts Senate earned a gold medal tonight when they passed the Updated Bottle Bill.  Senate President Therese Murray,  longtime sponsor Senator Cynthia Creem, amendment author Senator Robert Hedlund, and the whole Senate is to be congratulated for passing the update, which is overwhelmingly popular with the public, small businesses, cities and towns, and a majority of state legislators. For 14 years, the bill has been stalled in various committees. Getting the Updated Bottle Bill through the Senate has now completely shifted the momentum toward victory.

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News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- In a move celebrated by several major environmental, grassroots and public interest organizations, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced Thursday that they would re-open the public hearing process on the draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, the Commonwealth’s blueprint for dealing with waste. After the initial hearings ended in December without sufficient public outreach, the groups started pushing for the public hearings to be reopened; through direct advocacy, letters, emails and grassroots organizing. 

News Release | MASSPIRG

The Cambridge City Council, at the behest of Councillors Patty Nolan and Quinton Zondervan, unanimously passed a resolution calling on "..the Governor to end the ban on reusable bags and allow municipalities to enforce their own bag restrictions." 

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- Gov.Charlie Baker announced Friday that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the State Attorney General’s Office will resume enforcement of beverage container redemption requirements in June. MASSPIRG praises decision.

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.

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.

 

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.

 
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