Arizona has adopted legislation aimed at requiring fair competition between municipalities and private waste and recycling companies in the state, a move endorsed by the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA).
The new law expands a piece of legislation passed in 2000 that requires municipalities that collect waste outside their jurisdiction to pay a fee on that revenue comparable with taxes that private companies have to pay. The new bill, SB 1187 that was signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey, expands the payment in lieu of tax requirements to post-collection activities, the Washington-based NWRA said in a news release.
Post collection includes material recycling facilities (MRFs), transfer stations and landfills.
The Arizona chapter of NWRA led the effort on the new legislation as well as the original law.
“This bill will now fully assure a level playing field when public sector operators chose to compete outside their political jurisdiction with the private sector,” said Chris Coyle, chairman of the Arizona chapter.
The new law calls for any city or town providing that waste or collection outside of its boundaries to “make an in-lieu contribution to all state, city, town, county and other taxing districts equal to the taxes that would be required of private garbage collection and disposal companies performing the same service.”
The contribution includes not only the value of taxes for land and equipment dedicated to providing services outside of its boundaries and for any net income generated from providing services outside its boundaries, but also requires that the municipality make an in-lieu contribution to the recycling fund equal to the federal taxes that would be required of private companies that deliver the same services.
“We are very pleased that Governor Ducey and the Arizona legislature closed the loop, putting an end to unfair business advantages that municipalities previously had over private entities that delivered the same valuable and important services to Arizona households every day,” said Sharon Kneiss, NWRA president and CEO.
There was no immediate statement on the law from the Silver Spring, Md.-based Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), which represents primarily public sector waste operations.
The two associations have disagreed in the past on solid waste and recycling issues, such as flow control and privatization. But recently, the two groups have supported each other on issues such as safety and the Slow Down to Get Around legislative push of the NWRA.
In December the two groups expressed similar praise and concern about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to reduce greenhouse gas from power plants. The associations commended the EPA for trying to develop a rule that would reduce greenhouse gas while providing states with flexibility in how to implement the rule. But both groups also expressed concern, however, with the Existing Source proposal, and in particular with the future potential of the EPA to regulate “other entities” not in the fossil fuel electric generating sector.
The two groups in November joined with the EPA and Keep America Beautiful on an initiative to make recycling requirements clearer to Americans. The “Top 10 in the Bin” program aims to better communicate to Americans what materials go into recycling containers.