Maine legislators are mulling a wide-ranging bill meant to help the state meet its 50 percent diversion goal.
Legislative Document 1578 makes various changes to the state’s materials management landscape. One major provision in the legislation requires mandatory organics diversion for some large food scraps generators. The bill also brings a fee for materials sent to incinerators and implements extended producer responsibility for both single-use and rechargeable batteries.
Under the measure, businesses producing 1 ton or more of food scraps per week are required to send those scraps to a composting facility if they’re within 20 miles of such a facility. The state could waive the requirement if it would impose a substantial hardship on the business.
Current Maine law imposes a $2-per-ton charge for waste sent to landfills. L.D. 1578 lowers the amount to $1 but applies it to materials sent to incinerators as well. Because of that addition, it would generate additional revenue for the state. The bill directs that revenue to go into a new Maine Composting and Recycling Grant and Low-interest Loan Program, which would fund both private and public entities in their composting and recycling efforts.
The legislation also updates the state’s recycling goal, which aimed to recycle or compost 50 percent of municipal solid waste by 2014. Maine failed to hit the target, recycling and composting 34 percent of MSW in 2014. The bill pushes the 50-percent goal out to 2021.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Thomas Saviello, a Republican, and is currently in the legislature’s joint Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The Portland Press Herald reported the committee heard testimony both in support and opposition during a Feb. 17 hearing. Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 work sessions have been scheduled for the bill.