SB 56, a pre-filed bill from Senator Middleton, has been introduced for consideration during the 2014 legislative session. The bill would create a multi-stakeholder task force to examine solid waste diversion, recycling goals, and approaches toward “zero waste,” including considerably more aggressive targets or mandates on county governments for their municipal solid waste portfolios.
SB 56 is identical to the version of SB 799 that passed the Senate last year during the waning days of the 2013 session. That bill, substantially amended from its original posture, did not receive action in the House and was defeated.
In a note of procedural importance, SB 56 has been assigned to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. Last year’s SB 799 was a joint referral with both that committee and the Finance Committee charged with attention to the bill, and with the Finance Committee in a lead capacity. SB 56 has not yet been schedule for a public hearing.
From MACo’s testimony on zero waster legislation in 2013:
MACo POSITION ON ZERO WASTE AND RECYCLING
Unlike most other states, Maryland requires the counties to administer recycling programs and reach certain recycling goals. Despite originally being an unfunded mandate from the State, counties have supported recycling and now Maryland ranks above average among recycling states. Over time, county recycling rates have continued to increase. These positive results highlight that MACo and the counties are committed to recycling.
Under the zero waste concept, the goal is to eliminate (or more practically, significantly reduce) the amount of solid waste that goes into a landfill. The remainder of the waste is recycled, reused, or disposed of by other means. Zero waste has been implemented in parts of Europe and MACo believes that consideration of a zero waste policy in Maryland is a worthwhile endeavor. However, adopting a zero waste policy would have significant policy and cost implications and must be carefully considered.