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 | Solid Waste

Memorandum Regarding EEA No. 15356 Southbridge Recycling & Disposal Park, Draft Environmental Impact Report

On September 25th, 2015 MASSPIRG submitted comments to the Massachustts Department of Environmental Protection in regards to the unneccessary and dangerous expansion proposal of the Southbridge Landfill.

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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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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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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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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Janet Domenitz speaks at MassVote Ballot Question Forum on 10/29 | Ben Martin-McDonough

Janet Domenitz represented the Yes on 2 campaign at a MassVote Forum on 10/29 in Roxbury.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Senate passes Updated Bottle Bill

 

“It’s high time to update the Bottle Bill,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG. “We’ve been pushing for this update for a long time, but the bottlers and big beverage industry lobbyists have been pushing back. We are now optimistic that with the support of the Senate, and Governor Patrick, the House will move quickly to adopt this amendment.”

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

MASSPIRG Submits Testimony to Increase Bottle Bill Handling Fee

MASSPIRG supports Secretary Rick Sullivan’s proposal to increase the bottle bill “handling fee” by one penny, from 2.25c per container to 3.25c per container.  The handling fee is what the distributor pays the retailer for handling the empty containers, a key part of making the bottle bill work (the handling fee has nothing to do with the deposit, which consumers pay, and get redeemed when they return the container). This is a common sense and long overdue proposal.

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News Release | MASSPIRG, Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill | Solid Waste

Updated Bottle Bill Builds Steam

In a sign that the Updated Bottle Bill has more support on Beacon Hill than ever before, the final tally of cosponsors in the Legislature included the highest number the bill has ever garnered, coming at at 95 (75 in the House, 25 in the Senate). Giving the measure even more momentum, on Friday, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan proposed an increase in the bottle bill handling fee.  This handling fee (which has nothing to do with the 5-cent deposit) is what the bottling industry pays redemption centers, grocery stores, and other businesses for collecting and transporting bottles and cans for recycling.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Coalition Lauds Proposal to Increase Bottle Bill Handling Fee

We applaud EOEEA Secretary Rick Sullivan’s proposed regulations to increase the bottle bill handling fee. Bottle redemption centers, small, family-owned businesses that are a key part of making the bottle bill work, haven’t had a raise in the 2.25 cent handling fee for over 20 years.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund

Composting all organic waste -- including food scraps and yard trimmings -- could eliminate nearly one-third of all materials sent to landfills and trash incinerators across the United States. That’s according to Composting in America, a new report released today by the MASSPIRG Education Fund and the Frontier Group. The report outlines best practices for composting programs, which are critical for mitigating the negative impact of waste on the climate and public health.    

Blog Post

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.

Blog Post

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.

Blog Post

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. 

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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