Lawmakers support a landfill fee that funds recycling in one state, and an Arkansas community sees its contamination rate settle after multiple years of dramatic increases.
Contamination flat: The municipal recycling program in the Little Rock, Ark. area has been plagued with high contamination that has risen sharply in recent years. But the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports contamination has plateaued at 38 percent for the past 14 months in Pulaski County, Ark., after rising from 18 percent when the county switched to single-stream five years ago.
Polystyrene prohibition: Foam polystyrene food-service packaging will be phased out in Maui County, Hawaii by the end of 2018, after the county mayor signed a ban into law this month. According to The Maui News, the ban was opposed by a number of restaurants and local businesses based on its potential to increase costs, but officials pointed to the 18-month implementation delay as a mitigating measure.
Unanimous agreement: The Pennsylvania Senate has unanimously voted to eliminate the 2020 sunset date for the state’s recycling fee, which charges $2 per ton for solid waste landfilled in the state. According to PA Environment Digest, the fee provides funding critical to local programs across the state, and brought in a total of $38 million last year. The bill is now under consideration by the state’s House of Representatives.
Can collection down: An aluminum products manufacturer reports its used beverage can U.S. recycling rate decreased from 54.4 percent to 49.5 percent in 2016. In its recent sustainability report, Constellium NV attributes the lower figure to different legislation, behavior and recycling infrastructure found throughout the nation.
Statewide prohibition: Pennsylvania lawmakers also approved a prohibition preventing local governments from enacting bans or taxes on plastic bags. The Tribune-Review writes that the legislation was supported by plastics manufacturers, while a coalition of municipal leaders including the mayor of Pittsburgh opposed the bill due to its limitation on local decision-making power.
Contention continues: The Maine House of Representatives and the Senate have both overridden the veto of a bill to add a deposit on mini liquor bottles. Shortly after the veto was overridden, state administrative officials formally began the process of ending the sale of the mini liquor bottles statewide, the Portland Press Herald reports. Gov. Paul LePage had previously threatened a statewide ban on the containers if lawmakers were to reject his veto and move forward with the deposit.
Local legislation: On the heels of the California Senate rejecting a foam food-service packaging ban, members of Los Angeles City Council have taken the first step toward a local ban, according to a press release. Californians Against Waste, an environmental advocacy organization that recently announced it would push for local bans after the state-level legislation was rejected, praised the Council for asking city staff to research a foam ban.
Ripple effect: The Massachusetts bottle bill generates nearly 1,500 jobs and contributes between $85 million and $151 million to the state’s economy, according to a report from the Container Recycling Institute. The organization compiled the data as the state’s container deposit is up for legislative debate.
Staying the course: Despite a lawsuit seeking to prevent the move, Los Angeles city officials plan to move forward with implementing a new commercial franchise system beginning July 1. WasteDive reports proponents of the franchise system, which is officially known as the “RecycLA” program, are confident the city went through the correct legal procedure to implement the new system. The multi-family property owners association that filed the lawsuit, meanwhile, says it will push against the franchise system even if it isn’t halted by July 1.