Maine lawmakers approve landmark recycling reform bill

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Lawmakers in Maine have passed a bill to regulate packaging materials by charging private companies the cost of waste disposal and improving state recycling programs .

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

If the bill is signed by Governor 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 on Friday.

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

“We applaud the Maine legislature for enacting this exciting first legislation that shifts the costs of unnecessary packaging from taxpayers and cities to the big businesses that are responsible for it,” said Abigail Bradford, Maine Conservation Voter Outreach Officer , in a press release.

Opponents have urged Gov. Mills to veto the bill, saying 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.”

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