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Maine lawmakers approve landmark recycling reform bill

July 6, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine lawmakers have passed a bill to regulate packaging materials by having private companies pay for the cost of disposing of the waste and improve state recycling programs.

The bill passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan votes in June, but was held up until the state budget passed, the Portland Press Herald reported.

If the bill is signed by Gov. Janet Mills the extended producer responsibility program will include plastic, paper and cardboard. Mills’ office would not say if the governor plans to sign the bill Friday.

Supporters say the bill is the first step in shifting the responsibility for the waste from municipalities to the producers and meeting state waste management and recycling goals.

“We applaud the Maine Legislature for enacting this exciting first-in-the-nation legislation that shifts the costs of wasteful packaging from taxpayers and towns to the large corporations responsible for it,” Maine Conservation Voters Outreach Manager Abigail Bradford said in a statement.

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Opponents have urged Gov. Mills to veto the bill, claiming that the way it is structured will have too much government control over the program.

Dan Felton, executive director of Ameripen, a packaging industry trade group, said in a statement that the bill “creates an overly bureaucratic system that will increase costs for the people of Maine.”