Maine Legislators Hold Hearing on Groundbreaking Recycling Bill

Would be the first state to enact extended producer responsibility

DeawSS via Shutterstock

February 26, 2020 (PORTLAND, ME) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement today as the Maine legislature held a hearing on a bill designed to improve recycling in cities and towns. The legislation would be the first in the country to remove the sole burden of dealing with packaging waste from communities by requiring packaging manufacturers to reimburse towns and cities for their recycling costs.

“Plastic producers have been given a free pass to pollute our communities for far too long at taxpayer expense,” said John Hite, Zero Waste Policy Analyst at CLF. “Single-use packaging has upended recycling and filled our oceans, communities, and landfills with plastic pollution. LD2104 will require packaging companies to deal with the mess they’ve made and create products that don’t wreak havoc on our recycling systems and environment.”

CLF testified at today’s hearing.

The legislation would enact an extended producer responsibility program for packaging. Maine towns and cities – which currently spend around $17 million each year to recycle or dispose of packaging – would have those costs covered by the packaging producers. The program would also fund education and recycling infrastructure development and provide incentives to boost the use of materials that are non-toxic, easily recyclable or refillable, and have a high recycled content.

CLF experts are available for further comment.