Maryland officials push bottle bill idea

Maryland officials push bottle bill in emissions-reduction plan

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

As part of an effort to significantly curb statewide greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decade, Maryland recently set some ambitious goals when it comes to diverting what residents send to landfills. And to make those hopes a reality, state officials are saying a bottle bill is needed.

The state's "Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan," drafted by the Maryland Department of the Environment and supported by Gov. Martin O'Malley, aims to create an 85 percent reduction in solid waste in the state by 2030. To achieve that level, state number crunchers are relying on significant recycling boosts: The state wants to raise its overall recycling rate to 50 percent by 2015, 60 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2030. The report says the state's current recycling rate is just over 40 percent.

To increase recycling rates, the plan pushes for more recycling-oriented legislation, including a bottle bill. "The State proposes beverage container recycling goals of 80 percent by 2020 and 90 percent by 2030," the report reads, noting that the number currently sits below 40 percent. "Achieving these goals will require enactment of a beverage container recycling law."

(To view the plan's recycling-related initiatives, click here and scroll to page 175.)

The greenhouse gas plan serves to explain how the state can cut its overall emissions by 25 percent by 2020, a directive that Gov. O'Malley laid out in 2009. Through reducing what goes to landfills and enacting other waste-oriented measures, including relying more on waste-to-energy facilities, the state claims it can cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 4.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually. Such reductions in the waste realm account for around 8 percent of the total greenhouse gas emission cuts spelled out in the plan.

Along with discussing ways to boost beverage-container recycling, the report urges increased reuse and recycling of plastic bags and advocates for a ban on the products by 2020.

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