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

News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Groups call on Governor Baker to make Zero Waste the Commonwealth’s Goal by 2030

MASSPIRG called on Governor Charlie Baker to turn the upcoming 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan into a Zero Waste Master Plan for the Commonwealth.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

New report provides best practices for composting waste

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.    

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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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Pages

News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Broad Coalition Calls For Passage of the Updated Bottle Bill

MASSPIRG testifies before the State House Joint Committee on Telecom, Utilities and Energy and urges them to pass the Updated Bottle Bill.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

MASSPIRG, Coalition File to Put Updated Bottle Bill on Ballot

Today we are filing today a ballot initiative known as the Updated Bottle Bill. This proposed law would add water, juice, sports drinks and other beverages to the existing 5-cent deposit law. When this measure becomes law, there will be less litter, more recycling, and millions of taxpayer dollars saved in the reduced cost of waste disposal in our cities and towns.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

12,000 Bay Staters Tell DEP: Enforce the Waste Bans

In just over one month’s time, the consumer advocacy group MASSPIRG (Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group) has collected over 12,000 signatures calling on Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell to sign a pledge to crack down on violators of Massachusetts’ longstanding waste bans.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Group Spotlights Waste Ban Violations, Calls for Enforcement

"It's time to get more 'cops' on the beat," commented Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG, which is collecting signatures on petitions asking DEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell to step up enforcement of the waste bans. "Garbage is a big business in Massachusetts, and it's clear that landfills, incinerators, waste haulers and big waste generators are flaunting these regulations." Although there is significant evidence of large scale violations of these waste bans, the DEP has only issued a handful of penalties over the past few years.

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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.”

> Keep Reading

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Bottle Bill Update Special Event | Janet Domenitz

Join Bottle Bill Update advocates and supporters to show your support for this important legislation!  Over the past few weeks, members of the Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill have been putting together a Scorecard showing every state legislator's position. At this event, we'll be feature the release of Legislative Scorecard showing majority support. We have approximately 7 weeks left to get the bill through and we need to tell the legislature that we want this bill to come for a vote!

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Salem Citizens Call on Keenan to Update the Bottle Bill | Janet Domenitz

Citizens in Salem are clamoring for the Updated Bottle Bill. Check out this Letter to the Editor from the Salem News:

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

March Madness and the Updated Bottle Bill | Janet Domenitz

The TUE committee postpones moving the bill out of Committee (technically called an ‘extension’), AGAIN.

> Keep Reading

Pages

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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