Video: Want to Turn the Tide on Plastics Pollution? Make Producers Pay to Pollute | Conservation Law Foundation

Video: Want to Turn the Tide on Plastics Pollution? Make Producers Pay to Pollute

Maine could lead the nation in making big corporations a part of the plastic solution

Olivia Synoracki

Plastic pollution is growing. For ages, big corporations have blamed the influx of trash tainting the Earth on consumers, saying we just need to recycle more. In doing so, plastic producers have successfully distracted the public from the real issues with plastic – and the real solutions. Because the truth is, today’s throw-away culture exists because plastic producers and manufacturers choose to make single-use products and packaging that cannot be recycled.

Meanwhile, the increasing costs to manage the trash that producers deliberately create fall on our cities and towns – and, by extension, taxpayers. (Those costs have gotten so high that many communities across the country have been forced to cancel their recycling programs.)

While plastic producers would like to keep us all distracted, CLF is not going to let that happen. That’s why we’re working to hold corporations accountable for the hazards generated by their products – from their manufacture to disposal – with legislation called producer responsibility for packaging.

If every state passed producer responsibility for packaging laws, it would make manufacturers part of the solution to the world’s accelerating plastic crisis. Plus, it would motivate them to invest in design changes that would make products and packaging truly recyclable. It could also spur the creation of packaging reuse systems that would help cut down on waste, and ultimately save cities, towns, taxpayers, and local businesses money.

Maine Could Be First to Pass Producer Responsibility for Packaging Legislation

We are on the verge of passing this forward-thinking legislation in Maine. And it couldn’t come at a better time for the state.

Three decades ago, Maine committed to recycling 50% of its annual household trash by 2021. That goal was not met. In fact, the state is losing ground. The problem? Recycling costs are skyrocketing, and an overwhelming number of single-use products and packaging are flooding the state’s recycling facilities. What’s more, most of the single-use plastics Mainers put in their recycling bins end up in a landfill or incinerator, anyway.

But the state has the power to change all that – by passing what could be the country’s first law aimed at holding producers responsible for their packaging.

If passed, this law will finally make recycling work for Mainers, not corporations. Large corporations selling single-use packaging would be required to reimburse Maine’s cities and towns for the cost of managing their recycling. This would also motivate producers to reduce their packaging, increase product recyclability, incorporate recycled content into their products, and minimize the toxicity of packaging.

Join us in urging Maine to put its residents and environment first by passing the country’s first producer responsibility for packaging law.

Before you go… CLF is working every day to create real, systemic change for New England’s environment. And we can’t solve these big problems without people like you. Will you be a part of this movement by considering a contribution today? If everyone reading our blog gave just $10, we’d have enough money to fund our legal teams for the next year.

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