MASSPIRG renews push for a Bigger, Better, Bottle Bill

Updating the bottle bill in MA would reduce litter and waste.

Large pile of single-use plastic bottles
Huguette Roe |

On June 28, the Legislature held a public hearing to consider a number of bills, including H 3690/S2104, An Act to Update the Bottle bill. Local and state organizations turned out in force to support this legislation, which would expand the deposit from a nickel—which it’s been since the law originally passed in 1982—to a dime, and put the deposit on more beverage containers; like water bottles, vitamin drinks, iced teas, and the like.

The fact is, while MA has the worst redemption rate in the country, according to a recent report from the policy center Reloop, bottle deposits are the most effective recycling tool we have.  We simply need to update our law to get the rates back up to where they were, and to match other states like Michigan and Oregon which have already modernized their bottle bills. Updating our bottle bill would reduce litter, waste, and the costs we pay as taxpayers for disposal and litter clean up. 

It was encouraging to see the support from so many organizations—such as the Sierra Club, Conservation Law Foundation, League of Women Voters, Mass Municipal Association, Beyond Plastics. There were testimonials given by experts from international think tanks that do nothing but study recycling, including the Container Recycling Institute and Reloop North America. At the same time, the worst kind of recycling comes from the beverage industry, which is recycling old arguments in opposition to the bill that have no basis in fact. While some businesses have seen the light—such as the Mass Package Store Association, which previously opposed the law but testified in favor in June–others, like the Massachusetts Beverage Association is stuck in their old ways, claiming that there are ‘better ways to recycle’–without offering a single one.

We look forward to working with the chief sponsors—Rep. Marjorie Decker and Sen. Cynthia Creem–and the rest of the legislative body to get this bill over the finish line. 

TPIN staff | TPIN
Janet Domenitz of MASSPIRG and Clint Richmond of the MA Sierra Club at the 6/28/23 hearing for the Bigger, Better Bottle Bill

Janet Domenitz

Executive Director, MASSPIRG

Janet has been the executive director of MASSPIRG since 1990 and directs programs on consumer protection, zero waste, health and safety, public transportation, and voter participation. Janet has co-founded or led coalitions, including Earth Day Greater Boston, Campaign to Update the Bottle Bill and the Election Modernization Coalition. On behalf of MASSPIRG, Janet was one of the founding members of Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA), a statewide coalition of organizations advocating investment in mass transit to curb climate change, improve public health and address equity. Janet serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Consumer Federation of America and serves on the Common Cause Massachusetts executive committee, Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow board of directors, and Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Advisory Committee. For her work, Janet has received Common Cause’s John Gardner Award and Salem State University’s Friend of the Earth Award. Janet lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and two sons, and every Wednesday morning she slow-runs the steps at Harvard Stadium with the November Project.

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