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

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.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Elizabeth L. Cline: we need policy to stop new clothes from making a ‘straight line’ to the landfill | Olivia Sullivan

We hear from the author and journalist on secondhand clothing, the fashion industry’s addiction to cheap fossil fuels and how to break the waste cycle.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Jessica Schreiber: ‘It’s just too easy and convenient to throw things away’ | Olivia Sullivan

We need to make it easier for clothing companies to reuse and recycle. Policy, data collection and nonprofits can help.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Brooke Roberts-Islam: a challenge to reducing fashion waste comes from ordering and producing ‘high volumes’ of clothing | Olivia Sullivan

We hear from the fashion industry expert and journalist on tech solutions to clothing overstock problems and how policy can drive industry change.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

U.S. PIRG Education Fund urges the public to hold Coca-Cola accountable on its pledge to reduce plastic use

The Coca-Cola Company, a top plastic polluter according to a 2020 Brand Audit from the nonprofit Break Free From Plastic, announced a new commitment today to start using plastic bottles made with 100 percent recycled plastic for select brands in some U.S. states. According to the company, it would account for a nearly 20 percent reduction of new plastic used in North America compared to 2018. The commitment follows similar ones made by other major consumer goods companies, recently documented by U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

After Apple Slows Phones, Interest In Repair Spikes in Massachusetts

A new survey released by MASSPIRG shows that interest in phone repair options surged as battery issues with iPhones made headlines.

Findings show that we throw out 8,100 phones each day in Massachusetts, highlighting need for expanded access to repair.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Springfield Passes Resolution Opposing Repeal of the Bottle Bill

In an important demonstration of support for container deposits, the Springfield City Council unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the Massachusetts Bottle Bill on Monday, June 6th.  

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Solid Waste

At state office, residents fight landfill

MASSPIRG and Charlton residents delivered over 2,000 signatures to the MEPA Office demanding that Casella halt all expansion of the Southbridge Landfill and clean up the contamination found in residents' wells.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

MASSPIRG director to state lawmakers: No shortage of ideas for waste solutions

MASSPIRG members and many others are doing their part to reduce their contribution to the state's waste problem. It's time for lawmakers to do theirs.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Not one, not two, but four more states ban single-use plastic bags

The number of statewide plastic bag bans in the U.S. tripled in June, with Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Oregon adding themselves to the list.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Solid Waste

Nathan Proctor advocates for our right to repair at the FTC’s 'Nixing the Fix' workshop

We've been telling everybody who will listen that the companies that make electronics and other products should make it easier to repair your stuff. In July, we got to tell the Federal Trade Commission...

> 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
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

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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.”

Blog Post

We all play a role in creating food waste, so we can all be part of the solution.

News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund

BOSTON -- Consumers often don’t know which products will last and they’ll be able to fix, or which manufacturers make fixable devices and support Right to Repair. A new scorecard from MASSPIRG Education Fund, “Failing the Fix,” ranks the most popular cell phone and laptop makers for consumers who seek to purchase easily repairable products – especially those from companies who do not fight Right to Repair.

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.

Solid Waste

PIRG hosts webinar with MythBusters' Adam Savage on Right to Repair

Our national network and the Right to Repair team organized a summit featuring keynote speaker Adam Savage from MythBusters. He shared his thoughts with us on the movement and we discussed our current progress on the Right to Repair campaign.

 

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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