Counties Approve of Effort to Strengthen County Recycling Infrastructure

On February 9, 2023, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee in support of SB 0222 – Environment – Reducing Packaging Materials – Producer Responsibility.

The House Environment and Transportation Committee will consider the bill’s cross-file, HB 0284, on February 22.

Through requiring the Department of the Environment to conduct a statewide recycling needs assessment every 10 years, and obligating producers of packaging materials to coordinate with the Department to ensure they are complying with state regulations, SB 0222 helps hold to account some of the chief contributors to Maryland’s waste stream. Crucially, the bill also provides a mechanism that would ease some of the financial burden levied on local governments as they deal with recyclables. Counties could potentially be eligible to apply for and receive reimbursements on costs associated with the collecting, transporting, and processing of qualifying materials.

From the MACo Testimony:

SB 222 outlines a framework for an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) model that would place responsibility on packaging producers for end-of-life management. Industry members would form one or more producer responsibility organizations that would collect payments from producers based on the recyclability of product packaging. Local governments would be eligible to apply for and receive reimbursements for the work they are already doing, including labor costs, collecting, transporting, and processing covered materials. Counties would then be able to invest any new funds back into their networks to help ease the burden on taxpayers. SB 222 would also encourage producers to make packaging that is more easily recyclable and more environmentally friendly.

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