Update the Bottle Bill

IT’S ABOUT TIME—Because the current Bottle Bill doesn’t cover things like sports drinks, bottled water and iced tea, every year we end up throwing away over a billion bottles — enough to fill Fenway to the Monster seats. These bottles end up in incinerators and landfills, and as litter in our city streets, parks and beaches.

HELP INCREASE RECYCLING, DECREASE WASTE

Back in 1982, MASSPIRG led the fight to pass the original Bottle Bill. As a result of this first statewide recycling program, today, 80% of bottles and cans covered under the Bottle Bill are recycled instead of buried or burned.

But only 20% of containers not covered under this deposit law end up being recycled. That adds up to more than 1 billion water, energy and sports drink bottles per year that get thrown in our landfills or burned in incinerators.

STANDING UP TO THE BEVERAGE INDUSTRY

The updated bill that would add these new containers has been blocked for the past 13 years by big business — like the supermarkets, liquor retailers and distributors that don't want any responsibility for the mess these littered containers make.

It’s high time our leaders stop delaying at the behest of big business interests and bring this commonsense recycling expansion bill up for a vote.

• The billion bottles per year that get buried or burned instead of recycled could fill Fenway Park to the Monster seats.
• A recent survey showed that 77% of the public supports updating the Bottle Bill.
• A total of 208 of Massachusetts cities and towns endorse the Updated Bottle Bill.

HOW THE BOTTLE BILL WORKS

• Massachusetts retailers pay distributors a 5-cent deposit for each can or bottle purchased.
• When buying a beverage, the consumer pays the deposit to the retailer.
• The consumer gets the 5-cent deposit refunded when they return the can or bottle to the retail store, a redemption center or a reverse vending machine.
• The retailer recovers the deposit from the distributor, plus an additional handling fee of 2.25 cents for handling the empty bottles and cans. The end result: containers end up recycled and reused instead of thrown away.
• Not all consumers redeem their containers for the deposit. In Massachusetts, distributors and bottlers are required to turn over unclaimed deposits to the state. These funds used to go to the state’s Clean Environment Fund, which supported local and statewide recycling efforts. They now go into the state's General Fund instead.

MANY NEW CONTAINERS ARE NOT COVERED

•  We need to update the Bottle Bill so that the deposit covers new containers.
•  The handling fee needs to be increased to 3 cents so redemption centers can continue operating.
•  We need to restore the dedicated Clean Environment Fund.

Issue Updates

Media Hit | Solid Waste

Thirty years later, they’re still pushing the bottle bill

MASSPIRG's Executive Director Janet Domenitz's career as political organizer and effort to update the Bottle Bill on the ballot this November. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Updated Bottle Bill Heads to November Ballot

A broad coalition files petition signatures to qualify updated Bottle Bill for the ballot.

> Keep Reading
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 ...

> Keep Reading
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

Pages

Media Hit | Solid Waste

Thirty years later, they’re still pushing the bottle bill

MASSPIRG's Executive Director Janet Domenitz's career as political organizer and effort to update the Bottle Bill on the ballot this November. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Updated Bottle Bill Heads to November Ballot

A broad coalition files petition signatures to qualify updated Bottle Bill for the ballot.

> Keep Reading
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 ...

> Keep Reading
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.

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Pages

Result | Solid Waste

Working To Update The Bottle Bill

MASSPIRG helped to win the original Bottle Bill in 1982, and we’ve helped build support to update the landmark recycling law to include millions of new containers, including bottled water.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG and the Massachusetts Sierra Club | Solid Waste

The Impact of the Bottle Bill on Jobs in the Economy

This year, Massachusetts plummeted from 15th to 21st in CNBC’s annual ranking of the health of  each state’s economy, further demonstration that more must be done to stimulate job growth in  Massachusetts. One sector with untapped job growth is Massachusetts’ recycling industry, which  already employs close to 14,000 people, has a half-billion dollar payroll, and collects $3.2 billion in revenue every year. If the pending Bottle Bill Update is passed (H.890/S.1650), a net increase of 1500 jobs is expected in the state of Massachusetts.

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Report | Container Recycling Institute (CRI) | Consumer Protection, Solid Waste

Returning to Work

This study provides an intensely detailed, scenario-specific assessment of the jobs to be gained from increased recycling of what is arguably the most common, most prolific and most sought-after of all household recyclables—beverage containers.

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Report | Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance | Solid Waste

An Industry Blowing Smoke

Studies that have comprehensively reviewed gasification, pyrolysis and plasma incinerators have found that they provide little to no benefit when compared to mass burn incinerators, while being an even riskier investment.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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You Can Help

We have the chance to increase recycling by a billion bottles per year by updating the Bottle Bill. Your support will give us the resources we need to convince our legislators to act.

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