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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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Garbage in Massachusetts | Janet Domenitz

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News Release | MASSPIRG

Massachusetts consumer and environmental advocacy groups are calling for Attorney General Maura Healey to join a new investigation launched by California Attorney General Rob Bonta. On Thursday, Attorney General Bonta announced an investigation into the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries for their alleged role in causing and exacerbating the global plastics pollution crisis. The California attorney general’s investigation aims to examine the industries' efforts to deceive the public, stating that these industries have “aggressively promoted the development of oil-based plastic products and campaigned to minimize the public’s understanding of the harmful consequences of these products.”

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News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON, Mass. — In a move that gives the campaign significant momentum, both the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) officially endorsed the Better Bottle Bill (H.3289/S.2149), a bill that would update the state’s nearly 40 year old container deposit law. Bottle Bills are the best recycling programs for reducing waste and litter from beverage containers, but a lot has changed since the original Bottle Bill was adopted in 1983. This bill, sponsored by Representative Marjorie Decker (Cambridge) and Senator Cynthia Creem (Newton), includes more types of beverage containers — like water bottles, sports drinks, iced teas, miniatures, and more —  many of which did not exist when the original law passed. It also increases the deposit from 5¢ to 10¢ as states like Michigan and Oregon have done already. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

ATLANTA--- The Coca-Cola Co., the world’s top plastic polluter according to a recent Global Brand Audit, announced on Thursday a new commitment to use refillable or returnable glass or plastic bottles – or refillable containers at fountains and dispensers – for at least 25% of global beverage sales across its entire brand portfolio by 2030.

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Solid Waste

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MASSPIRG testifies: Update Bottle Bill

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