Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is drafting legislation that would require private companies to pay a portion of the costs associated with the disposal of common household packaging materials.
DEP’s proposal is a response to the collapse of global recycling markets for paper and plastic, in which cost increases have driven some communities across the state to limit accepted materials or scrap recycling programs altogether.
The Times Record has more details:
State policymakers alarmed by the growing number of Maine communities restricting or abandoning costly recycling programs will draft legislation requiring private companies to shoulder the cost of disposing of common household packaging.
The proposed measure is partially a response to the collapse of global markets for recyclables such as paper and plastic. Communities accustomed to getting paid to export low-value material to China were caught off guard last year when the national government effectively banned imports of recyclables.
Officials estimate Maine taxpayers spent at least $16 million last year to get rid of recyclables. Increased cost drove some communities to limit accepted materials and at least six towns have quit recycling altogether, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.