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

What are Bay Staters Fixing?

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.

 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

"Reduce" comes first: MASSPIRG testifies on behalf of state ban on polystyrene food containers

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

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Statement on the Massachusetts Plastic Bag Bill reported out of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture

As advocates for clean air, clean water, open space, public health, and a sustainable future, we are profoundly discouraged by the plastic bag bill that has been reported out of the Legislature's Joint Environment Committee. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Food, Solid Waste

What a waste: At least 30% of trash could be composted instead of buried or burned

Each year, America landfills and incinerates enough organic material to fill a line of 18-wheelers stretching from New York to Los Angeles 10 times over.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Here’s how manufacturers argue against repair. | Nathan Proctor

In March, the FTC announced a new workshop called “Nixing the Fix,” which will investigate how companies “limit repairs by consumers and repair shops and whether those limitations affect consumer protection, including consumers’ rights.” Last week, the FTC posted submitted comments for it's Nixing the Fix workshop, and by reviewing those comments, it's clear that manufacturers and their lobbying associations are doubling down on their arguments.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Media Hit | Solid Waste

The bottle bill, again: Beacon Hill’s overdue deposit

Boston Globe calls for swift passage of Updated Bottle Bill!  "THE LEGISLATURE’S repeated failure to strengthen the state bottle bill has become an embarrassing symbol of special-interest power ...

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Media Hit | Solid Waste

Proposal to update state's bottle bill is moving on

Petition-drive organizers obtained more than enough signatures to send the Updated Bottle Bill to the state Legislature.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Initiative Petition to Update the Bottle Bill Qualified

Initiative Petition to Update the Bottle Bill Qualified with 94,950 Certified Signatures.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Solid Waste

Environmentalists, businesses clash over bottle bill

BOSTON (WWLP) - 95 state lawmakers have signed onto an expanded bottle bill that proposes to extend the state’s 5-cent refundable deposit on soda cans to water bottles, sports drinks, and juice containers.

“We know that if we put the nickel deposit on those containers it will be a very effective tool at recycling them,” said MassPIRG Executive Director Janet Domenitz.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Solid Waste

WITH BALLOT QUESTION IN THE WORKS, LAWMAKERS HEAR BOTTLE BILL DEBATE

Proposals to expand the bottle deposit were before lawmakers on the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee for a legislative hearing. Frustrated with lawmakers, the bill’s supporters are also angling to put the proposal on the 2014 ballot.

> Keep Reading

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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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | U.S. PIRG

BOSTON - The Student PIRGs, a student environmental organizing group, is partnering with local organizations, student governments and elected officials to host in-person and virtual actions to celebrate Youth Earth Week, a national effort of more than 250 actions around the country to protect the environment, from April 19 to 23.

Blog Post

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.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

WASHINGTON -- As plastic pollution becomes an increasingly dire problem, elected officials in both chambers of Congress introduced legislation Thursday to address the issue. On Capitol Hill today, Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA) unveiled the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021, a bill to improve the health of our people and our planet.


Blog Post

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

Solid Waste

Local plastic bag ban delays; renewed call to reduce waste

This summer, Gov. Charlie Baker took a major step to get the Bay State back on the path to zero waste by reinstating single-use plastic bag bans in 139 cities and towns. But local delays and confusion remain in several jurisdictions, prompting MASSPIRG and our partners to renew our call for the commonwealth to get back to reducing harmful and unnecessary plastic waste.

 

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.

 
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