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Public hearing held for bills addressing recycling in the state

(WTVY News 4)
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 3:45 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Dozens of people testified at a virtual public hearing today on bills designed to address recycling programs.

One bill before the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee would establish Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, for businesses that sell products in the state.

Producers would make annual payments based on the amount and types of packaging material sold in Maine and whether that material is easily recyclable.

That money could then be used to offset the cost of municipal recycling programs, which remain more expensive than incineration or landfills.

Democratic Senator Jim Dill of Old Town sponsored LD 1471, “An Act to Establish a Stewardship Program for Packaging” which would set up a stewardship organization made up of packaging producers and other members that would determine standards for recycling in the state.

”My hope is that concepts in LD 1471 create not just a short term funding solution but truly a long-term collaborative structure that will improve recycling for the long haul.”

Democratic Representative Nicole Grohoski of Ellsworth sponsored LD 1541, “An Act To Support and Improve Municipal Recycling Programs and Save Taxpayer Money” which focused on EPR.

“If there is a small increase in the cost of a product as a result of this program it will be borne by the consumer choosing to buy that product, rather than socialized between all taxpayers in a municipality.”

Both bills encountered some opposition during the public hearing, but most speakers agreed that the recycling system in the state needs attention.

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