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Category: Recycling

NYT: Maine Will Make Companies Pay for Recycling. Here’s How It Works.

The law aims to take the cost burden of recycling away from taxpayers. One environmental advocate said the change could be “transformative.”

A collection facility in Bend, Ore. The state is expected to adopt a recycling law similar to Maine’s within weeks. 
Credit…Leon Werdinger/Alamy

Recycling, that feel-good moment when people put their paper and plastic in special bins, was a headache for municipal governments even in good times. And, only a small amount was actually getting recycled.

Then, five years ago, China stopped buying most of America’s recycling, and dozens of cities across the United States suspended or weakened their recycling programs.

Now, Maine has implemented a new law that could transform the way packaging is recycled by requiring manufacturers, rather than taxpayers, to cover the cost. Nearly a dozen states have been considering similar regulations and Oregon is about to sign its own version in coming weeks.

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Maine becomes first state to shift costs of recycling from taxpayers to companies

Gov. Janet Mills (D), seen last month at an event in Augusta, Maine, signed a bill Tuesday requiring companies that create consumer packaging to pay for the costs of recycling it.
Gov. Janet Mills (D), seen last month at an event in Augusta, Maine, signed a bill Tuesday requiring companies that create consumer packaging to pay for the costs of recycling it. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

Maine became the first state in the nation to require companies that create consumer packaging to pay for the costs of recycling it when Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill Tuesday establishing an “extended producer responsibility” program.

The legislation on EPR for packaging will charge large packaging producers for collecting and recycling cardboard boxes, plastic containers and other packaging materials, as well as for disposing of nonrecyclable packaging. The income generated will be used to support recycling efforts in local communities that have long relied on taxpayer dollars.

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