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


In Maine, packaging merchandise lined by the legislation make up as a lot as 40 p.c of the waste stream.

In each states, one necessary good thing about this system is that it’s going to make recycling extra uniform statewide. Today, recycling is a patchwork, with variations between cities about what might be thrown within the recycling bin.

These applications exist on a spectrum from producer-run and producer-controlled, to government-run. In Maine, the federal government is taking the lead, having the ultimate say on how this system might be run, together with setting the charges. In Oregon, the producer accountability group is anticipated to contain producers to a bigger diploma, together with them on an advisory council.

In one other key distinction, Maine can be requiring producers to cowl 100 p.c of its municipalities’ recycling prices. Oregon, in contrast, would require producers to cowl round 28 p.c of the prices of recycling, with municipalities persevering with to cowl the remaining.

Built into each legal guidelines is an incentive for corporations to rethink the design and supplies used of their packaging. Various well-liked client merchandise are onerous to recycle, like disposable espresso cups — they’re made from a paper base, however with a plastic coating inside, and one other plastic lid, in addition to presumably a cardboard sleeve.

Both Maine and Oregon are contemplating charging greater charges for packaging that’s onerous to recycle and subsequently doesn’t have a recycling market or merchandise that comprise sure poisonous chemical compounds, resembling PFAS.

For many corporations, this may require a shift in mind-set.

Scott Cassel, the founding father of the Product Stewardship Institute and the previous director of waste coverage in Massachusetts, described the impact of 1 dairy firm’s determination to vary from a transparent plastic milk bottle to an opaque white bottle. The opaque bottles have been costlier to recycle, so the swap value the federal government extra money. “The choice of their container really matters,” Mr. Cassel stated. “The producer of that product had their own reasons, but they didn’t consider the cost of the material to the recycling market.”


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