Maine could soon become the first state to charge companies for the cost of recycling
Packaging fees should be spent on recycling upgrades, industry groups say.
Link CopiedCorporate promises to shoulder more of the cost of managing America’s trash are being tested in Maine, which could become the first state to charge companies for the cost of recycling.State lawmakers as soon as this week could vote onlegislation that would impose a fee on bottles, boxes, food wrappers
and other packaging to fund waste programs, a concept known as extended producer responsibility. But the measure is being fought by some of the companies that just this year endorsed the practice, at least in theory.The conflict: Who will control the money and how it’s spent. Packagers and consumer brands want authority to manage the revenue and spend it exclusively on recycling. Maine regulators and their allies in the legislature say government needs a hand in the program, which would reimburse municipalities for waste hauling and landfill costs in addition to funding recycling.
“Producers don’t trust the government and vice versa,” said Sarah Nichols, sustainability director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.If the bill becomes law, it would be the first of its kind in the country and could give momentum to a broader push by state lawmakers to curb plastic waste and rationalize a recycling system that is outdated, confusing and varies from town to town. headtopics.com
That’s a goal shared by business groups, including AMERIPENplastic makers and consumer goods companies, the Consumer Brands Association, and the American Chemistry Council. The trade groups and their members, including Dow Chemical Co., PepsiCo and Nestlé, endorsed packaging fees earlier this year.
The industry’spolitical change of heartwas driven partly by self interest. Corporations, under pressure from customers and shareholders, have pledged to use more recycled materials. But without access to salvaged waste, brands can’t make good on those promises. Less than a third of packaging and only 9 percent of plastic is recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Maine is on pace to become the first state to set the standard. Using the money to bolster landfilling makes no sense,” Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, said in an interview.State-level campaigns to control and manage plastic waste were gaining steam until the Covid-19 pandemic closed capitals, and masks, gloves, take-out containers and other single-use items suddenly became necessities.
Now, the push has picked up again. Washington enacted a law in May requiring plastic bottles to contain more recycled material. Colorado lawmakers last week voted to ban plastic bags. Adozen states have introduced extended producer responsibility bills headtopics.com
this year. So far, only Maine is on the verge of passing a law, according to the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.The Maine bill would direct the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to open a competitive bidding process to manage the program. Groups interested in the job would be required to assess waste and recycling costs and investments needed to improve the system. Input from packaging makers, municipalities, environmental groups and waste and recycling companies would be required.
Once a plan is in place, regulators would calculate the fee on packaging. The revenue would reimburse local governments for recycling, waste hauling and landfilling, which cost$16 million and $17 million a year.For companies that would be taxed under the bill, paying for dumping is a non-starter.
“We want to make sure the funding from packaging that isn’t recyclable right now doesn’t go to landfilling, but instead funds recycling infrastructure,” said Andy Hackman, a lobbyist for AMERIPEN and the Flexible Packaging Association. “In Maine and other states, landfilling is the cheapest option already for a municipality. There isn’t a requirement that if they take the money, they have to start changing those practices.”
The legislation’s proponents say the trade groups have been unwilling to compromise and accuse them of spreading misleading information about the measure’s economic impact. Read more: POLITICO »
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City Lovers. Brings me back to the Philippines. Forest Environmentalists. Makes me think there’s another world to be made. My love for my world won’t fathom, but seeing as there are more violent pictures than trash cans and fires to extinguish rather than accumulate a provresce.. I wish AZ was. The cost of recycling has not been met by selling plastics because China will not buy it anymore. Tucson has cut back on what it will recycle so more goes to landfills. This cannot continue. It is worsening exponentially. Earth oceans has miles long floating trash
I hear that plastic recycling is one of the biggest frauds. Promoted my the plastic industry to actually produce more plastic. Very little actually gets recycled despite most of the public being all in by separating garbage into a recycle bin. There was a good 60mins story on it Meanwhile the nearly 100 companies, governments and nonprofits that form the U.S. Plastics Pact released their plan to slash waste. The road map has four goals — and accomplishing them will require a tax to fund recycling. The Long Game has more:
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