Skip to content (press enter)
Update the Bottle Bill, Mass!

Update the Bottle Bill, Mass!

Advocate for the state of Massachusetts to update their bottle deposit law!

The Surfrider Foundation MA Chapter is part of a coalition advocating for a substantive and long overdue update to Massachusetts’ 1983 bottle deposit law.

This campaign continues the MA Chapter’s long-standing advocacy on this issue, which dates back to a 2014 campaign focused on passing a bottle bill expansion via ballot referendum.

While Surfrider MA acknowledges recycling is an incomplete and imperfect solution to waste and plastic pollution, a well-designed deposit program is an effective known tool for increasing the circularity of beverage containers, promoting reuse, and for holding producers responsible for responsibly handling the packaging that they produce. For example, Germany’s Pfand system has achieved a beverage container returns rate of >98%.

Several bills have been filed on this topic in the 193rd General Court, including H.3690, S.2104, and H.3676. While these bills vary in their details, they generally improve the existing bottle bill by:

  • Increasing the container deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents, with a mechanism for future increases based on explicitly defined goals for the return rate of containers.
  • Significantly expanding the types of beverage containers covered by bottle deposits in MA
  • Assigning funds from unredeemed containers to improving solid waste management and environmental protection

The Surfrider MA chapter also supports versions of the bills that include measures promoting a transition to reusable/refillable containers and to exclude incineration and other high-temperature chemical processes from the definition of ‘recycling’.

These bills are scheduled for a series of hearings before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy on 28 June 2023. The MA chapter intends to supply written testimony asking the committee to support these bills.