Maine became the first US state to require businesses to get rid of their non-recyclable packaging.
Rather than local communities foot the bill for recycling, the new legislation will deliver millions of dollars to cities in Maine. The funding will be redirected to recycling operational costs and will be used to fund education and infrastructure projects that reduce packaging waste.
The bill was signed on Tuesday by Democratic Representative Nicole Grohoski. “I am proud that once again Maine is a national leader in common sense environmental protection,” she said in a statement.
“This new law guarantees every community in Maine that helps with recycling and reducing the tax burden on property is on its way.”
The United States was shipping a lot of plastic waste across the ocean to China, but many of those imports were banned in 2018.
“We have to face this problem and use our own ingenuity to solve it,” Ms. Grohoski said.
Small businesses earning less than $ 5million (£ 3.67million) in gross annual revenue, as well as non-profit organizations, will be exempt from these fees.
“Maybe companies won’t be inclined to send you something tiny in a box wrapped in another box, all full of plastic bags, because they will have to pay for it, not someone else. It really puts the responsibility where it belongs, ”Sarah Nichols of the Natural Resources Council of Maine told NPR News Station in Boston.
Environmentalists celebrated the move, but business groups including the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association noted that grocery costs could rise due to the new program, reported Washington To post.
Extended Producer Responsibility is a well-known concept in Europe, Canada, Japan and South Korea, where similar programs are already underway.
California, Hawaii and New York are also looking to implement similar policies. Maine has led the way in environmental legislation since its Bottle Bill in the 1970s. Maine also recently banned Styrofoam food containers, bowls, plates, mugs, trays, and cartons, which are notoriously difficult. to recycle. These “contribute significantly to environmental plastic pollution,” said Governor Janet Mills, who signed the foam food container bill.
As businesses in Maine have time to get their packaging costs and procedures in order, the new recycling rules will not be implemented or enforced until December 31, 2023.
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