Several States Looking To Shift Recycling Costs Back To Manufacturers

Environment: NPR
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Disposing of voice can be complicated. Does it go in the recycling bin or the trash and who pays for it? That's become a hot button issue for cities across the country because those cities bear the brunt of the cost so now lawmakers in several states including Maine are considering laws that would shift the recycling and disposal costs of products back to the companies. That make them. It's called extended producer responsibility or Apr Choi Moon the Sustainability Coordinator in Portland. Maine joins us now to explain. Good Morning Good Morning. So what does through some of the problems that? Portland's having with with recycling right well. A lot of people are aware that recycling markets have been challenged in the last few years basically because of some changes in the international market with China Shutting the door for most products Some places are experiencing difficulty even moving Products to the market So costs for municipalities. Are rising rapidly in some communities. The price that they have to pay to the recycling plant is more than they have to pay to dispose of their trash. How much does this all cost? The city so In our case our recycling costs have risen over two hundred thousand dollars in the past year So it's you know it's a pretty significant jump from zero which we used to. We had an agreement with our recycling facility that we didn't make any revenue but we didn't have to pay any costs. I mean I buy things that are packaged in plastic and cardboard and parts of it are clean parts of it dirty and it's kind of hard to figure out how to throw it away properly but also how did it become the responsibility of the consumer to not only throw it out believe but basically pay for it. Yeah no that's exactly The point I think that You know Portland. And the communities are supporting on the extended responsibility hearing me and trying to make We have city employees vehicles ago and pick it up and take it to the recycling plant and waste to energy facility But that's the cost borne entirely by the local tax payers Despite the fact that the you know the goods that are being disposed of are produced and packaged by some of the largest brands in the world. These companies supportive of a bill like this that would put the the cost on them No I think you know it's a change here in the United States particularly but if you look at other parts of the world you know all of Europe has Ep Are we're maybe the first state in the US really pushing hard at this. So is the goal to get the manufacturer to change the way. A package is as well absolutely currently the producers. You know lack any real incentive to make sure that the products they make are fully recyclable. They are thoughtful about the amount and type of packaging. They use You know if they're going to be responsible for the costs of them they're more apt to make cost of Hanley and disposing them less expensive now. Portland's the biggest city in May but what about smaller cities or towns that don't have the resources Portland might have. How how does it work there? I think This type of legislation will benefit rural communities especially on a percentage basis. Uh small community spends more on solid. Waste GonNA BE CYCLING COSTS THAN WE DO And many small communities Trashing handling waste and recycling and trashes. And it's you know the second most expensive line item in their budgets after school so So it It would be a great benefit for or small communities as well that was Troy Moon Sustainability Coordinator of the city of Portland name. Thank you so much

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