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Maine approves law to shift recycling costs to producers

July 13, 2021 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s governor on Tuesday signed a law touted as the first of its kind in the nation to shift some recycling costs from residents to producers.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the proposal, which would charge companies for the cost of getting rid of non-recyclable packaging materials. Supporters of the proposal said the payments would be used to cover operational costs, pay department fees and fund education and infrastructure projects aimed at reducing future packaging waste.

The program is commonly referred to as “extended producer responsibility.” Canadian provinces and European countries have also used it.

Democratic Rep. Nicole Grohoski, who sponsored the proposal, said it assures Maine communities “that help with recycling and lowering the property tax burden is on the way.”

Some industry members, including the Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association, have opposed the rules. The organization testified that “there is genuine concern that this will result in product manufacturers choosing not to do business here in Maine,” a small state located far from much of the country.

Environmentalists have cheered the move. Environment Maine Director Anya Fetcher said Maine “has chosen to stop this rising tide of plastic pollution by putting the responsibility for addressing this crisis where it belongs.”