Policy Update

Maine EPR Legislation Would Help Fund Municipalities’ Recycling and Waste Fees

Region

Northeast

NCEL Point of Contact

Yinka N. Bode-George
Environmental Health Manager

Contact

In February, Maine introduced legislation to establish an extended producer responsibility (EPR) system that holds brands responsible for the waste created by their single-use packaging. Rather than consumers bearing the costs of single-use packaging and the resulting pollution, the financial burden is put on producers to manage and reduce their waste. As states look to improve their recycling and waste management systems, LD 2104 offers a strong example. 

LD 2104 ultimately creates a fund that reimburses municipalities for the cost of recycling and discarding single-use packaging distributed by brands. It does so by placing a fee on producers’ single-use packaging which they would pay on an annual basis. These fees are based on numerous factors including:

  • recyclability of materials used;
  • percentage of recycled content;
  • toxicity;
  • and total weight of their sold single-use packaging. 

Any remaining funds would go towards education around recycling and building out recycling infrastructure. 

While states like Washington have also introduced EPR legislation, the two states take different approaches. Washington’s bill puts the full burden on producers to manage their own waste by contracting a nonprofit organization to collect, organize, and recycle their single-use packaging. By contrast, Maine’s bill uses this shared responsibility approach where municipalities maintain control over waste and recycling that would be funded by producers.

Both bills offer strong examples for states to consider as they look to curb plastic pollution. Learn More About Plastic Pollution