MACo Associate Director Les Knapp testified in opposition to HB 982 before the House Environmental Matters Committee on March 10. The bill, sponsored by Delegate Doyle Niemann, would create stricter commodity-based recycling goals for counties. The bill also provides that counties who fail to meet the goals could have their refuse disposal system permits denied and that landfills and recycling centers must collect a “tipping” fee based on weight.
Mr. Knapp noted that local government programs have given Maryland an impressive recycling rate of 43.9% (2008 figure), well above the national average of 24.3% (2008 figure). He questioned why additional penalties and costs needed to be placed on counties given the level of county committment to recycling and their current fiscal challenges. He also cautioned that focusing on individual commodity goals may have the unintended result of pushing counties away from single stream recycling, which has been shown to improve consumer recycling participation.