| Session - 129th Maine Legislature
Resolve, To Support Municipal Recycling Programs
Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, many of Maine's communities are struggling to maintain or improve, or in some cases are eliminating, recycling programs, and the State has not yet achieved the 50% state recycling goal established in state law in 1989; and
Whereas, packaging, which includes plastic, steel, aluminum, glass and cardboard, constitutes approximately 30 to 40% of the materials managed by weight in waste management programs in the State; and
Whereas, Maine taxpayers currently bear 100% of the responsibility and pay an estimated $16 million to $17 million each year to finance the management of packaging through fragmented and increasingly expensive municipal disposal or recycling options; and
Whereas, producers of packaging have little incentive to design packaging to minimize waste, reduce toxicity or maximize recyclability, and there is no organized coordination between the producers of packaging and municipalities that are responsible for disposing of or recycling the packaging; and
Whereas, producers of packaging have taken some or all responsibility for the management of post-consumer packaging in other parts of the world, including in all European Union member states and 5 provinces in Canada, with some programs dating back 30 years, and as a result have greatly increased recycling rates and infrastructure investment, created jobs and reduced taxpayer costs; and
Whereas, development of a stewardship program for packaging must be initiated before the 90-day period expires in order for an extended producer responsibility law for packaging to be developed and submitted in time to be considered in the next legislative session; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore, be it
Sec. 1. Development of product stewardship law for packaging. Resolved: That the Department of Environmental Protection shall develop legislation establishing an extended producer responsibility law for packaging in the State. The proposed legislation must, to the greatest extent practicable, adhere to the product stewardship framework law established in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 38, chapter 18 and must:
1. Include a definition of "packaging" that covers, at a minimum, materials used to wrap or protect consumer goods, including food and personal care products, and containers and packaging used in the shipping, storage, protection and marketing of consumer products;
2. Include a definition of "producer" that clearly identifies the person ultimately financially responsible;
3. Include exemptions for small producers and for product packaging that is already covered under Maine's beverage container redemption law;
4. Allow producers to voluntarily participate in the program if not required by the law;
5. Provide for the establishment of a nonprofit stewardship organization of producers of packaging to support the State's municipal solid waste management programs. The agreement establishing the stewardship organization must require producers to:
6. Require that the stewardship organization establish an equitable funding scheme among covered producers that encourages better packaging design in which:
7. Describe the preferred methods to be used for regular data collection and reporting and recycling rate and contamination calculations in order that:
8. Create incentives for municipalities and producers to reach predetermined performance goals based on reporting and data collection as described in subsection 7; and
9. Establish a method by which producers can protect themselves against producers that fail to register with a program. These methods may include private right of action, requirements that online retailers of packaging be responsible for paying into a fund in support of the program if the products they sell are from producers who are not part of the stewardship program or other strategies that ensure fairness and full compliance.
Sec. 2. Proposed legislation. Resolved: That the Department of Environmental Protection shall submit proposed legislation pursuant to section 1 to the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources no later than December 16, 2019. The joint standing committee is authorized to report out a bill relating to the proposal to the Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature.
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.
This resolve requires the Department of Environmental Protection to develop proposed legislation to establish a new product stewardship program requiring producers of packaging to assist Maine municipalities in managing and financing packaging waste disposal and recycling programs in the State. The proposed legislation is required also to incentivize producers of packaging to design packaging to be recycled or made of recycled content to strengthen the recycling markets. The resolve requires the department to submit the proposed legislation to the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources no later than December 16, 2019.
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