Every year, the Maryland General Assembly considers upwards of 2,500 bills of which as many as 700 or more may become law. And all this happens during a 90-day session. The 2020 Legislative Session, however, proved to be unique. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the session adjourned three weeks early leaving many bills on the sidelines and unresolved.

Prior to the notice of the shortened session, MRN stated our positions on eight bills impacting the Maryland recycling community. While MRN supported several of the bills in concept, the Board took the opportunity to express concerns on key items and make recommendations as applicable. Below are details on each bill along with a brief description of our recommendations. Click on the MRN Position link to read the full letter.

HB0209 / SB0313 Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act: Prohibiting a store from distributing plastic carryout bags to a customer at the point of sale; requiring a store to charge and collect at least 10 cents for each durable carryout bag the store provides to a customer; authorizing a store to retain all money collected under certain circumstances; providing certain penalties for certain violations of the Act under certain circumstances; establishing the Single-Use Products Workgroup; requiring the Workgroup to study and make recommendations regarding single-use products; etc.

MRN Position – Support with Recommendations – Recommend limiting the specific requirements of the bill pending a full review by the proposed Single-Use Products Workgroup. Also requests that a representative of the Maryland Recycling Network be included on Workgroup to help address the above concerns and reflect recycling issues.

HB0296 Environment – Single-Use Plastic Straws – Use in a Food Service Business: Prohibiting, beginning January 1, 2021, a food service business from providing a single-use plastic straw to a customer dining in the food service business unless the customer requests a straw; and applying the Act.

MRN Position – Support with Recommendations – Recommend limiting the specific requirements of the bill pending a full review by the proposed Single-Use Products Workgroup referenced in HB 209 – Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act.

HB0589 Solid Waste Management – Organics Recycling and Waste Diversion – Food Residuals: Requiring a certain person that generates food residuals to separate the food residuals from other solid waste and ensure that the food residuals are diverted from final disposal in a refuse disposal system in a certain manner; applying the requirements of the Act, beginning in certain years, to certain persons that generate certain amounts of food residuals; requiring the Department of the Environment to report to the General Assembly by December 1, 2021, and annually thereafter on the impact of waste diversion in the State; etc.

MRN Position – Support – Requests greater clarity for: 9–1724.1.(A) (2) (I) HAS THE CAPACITY TO ACCEPT AND PROCESS THE FOOD RESIDUALS; AND (II) IS WILLING TO ACCEPT THE FOOD RESIDUALS FOR RECYCLING. Specifically, we understand that the Maryland Department of the Environment will specify guidance regarding standards for capacity/quality of processing facility and minimum volume requirements for generators. We also understand there will be an amendment proposed that price must be competitive with disposal cost or generator will be allowed to apply for a waiver.

HB0772 / SB0478  Maryland Green Purchasing Committee – Food Procurement – Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Requiring the Maryland Green Purchasing Committee to develop on or before January 1, 2022, a certain methodology, in consultation with the Department of the Environment and the Department of General Services, for a unit to estimate greenhouse gas emissions that occur through the life cycle of certain food; requiring each unit to report to the Committee on the unit’s progress in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with food procured by the unit on or before August 1, 2024 and each August 1 thereafter; etc.

MRN Position – Support

HB0824  Beverage Container Deposit Program – Establishment and Advisory Commission: Requiring the Department of the Environment to establish a beverage container deposit program on or before September 1, 2021; establishing the Advisory Commission to Develop a Beverage Container Deposit Program; requiring the Advisory Commission to develop a framework for a beverage container deposit program; requiring the Advisory Committee to report its framework and recommendations to certain members and committees of the General Assembly by December 31, 2020; etc.

MRN Position – Do Not Support At This Time – Concerned the Bill has questionable implications for local jurisdictions, particularly the negative impact on existing curbside collection program, and the feasibility of Maryland specific redemption codes and cross state redemption policies. Requests that a representative of the Maryland Recycling Network be included on the Advisory Commission to help address the above concerns.

HB0890 Maryland Paint Stewardship Program: Requiring certain producers or a representative organization to submit a plan for the establishment of a Paint Stewardship Program to the Department of the Environment on or before January 1, 2021, and in accordance with certain requirements; requiring the Department to review and approve certain plans, including a certain assessment, submitted in accordance with the Paint Stewardship Program; prohibiting the sale of certain architectural paint under certain circumstances on a certain date; etc.

MRN Position – Support with Amendment – Include an amendment to change: PART V. 9-1733 (H) BEGINNING “APRIL” 2022  to …“March 1”… to allow sufficient time for counties to include the volume of paint collected in their annual MRA report due April 1.

HB1452 Department of the Environment – Office of Recycling – Recycling Market Development: Requiring the Office of Recycling in the Department of the Environment to develop markets for recycled materials and recycled products in the State in a certain manner; requiring the Office to report to the General Assembly each year; requiring the Office to coordinate certain activities with certain entities; prohibiting the Department of the Environment from employing more than a certain number of staff to carry out the requirements of the Act; etc.

MRN Position – Support – Supports with amendments as needed to ensure the report specified in 9-1702.1 (B) include timely data (i.e. current year) and that said report produces substantive, concrete action in the following year.

SB0891 Environment – Solar Panel Stewardship Programs: Requiring the Department of the Environment to develop certain guidelines for solar panel stewardship programs to ensure the environmentally sound recycling of out-of-service solar panels and their components; requiring the Department to adopt certain guidelines in regulation on or before July 1, 2021; prohibiting a certain manufacturer from selling or offering for sale in the State a solar panel on or after January 1, 2022, unless the manufacturer has a solar panel stewardship plan approved by the Department; etc.

MRN Position – Support

Other relevant bills:

HB0179 Maryland Recycling Act – Recyclable Materials and Resource Recovery Facilities – Alterations: Altering the definition of “recyclable materials” under the Maryland Recycling Act to exclude incinerator ash; and repealing the authority of a county to utilize a resource recovery facility to meet 5% of the waste reduction required to be achieved through recycling in the county’s recycling plan.

HB0354 Solid Waste Management – Personal Cleansing Products Provided at Lodging Establishments – Prohibition: Prohibiting an owner, an operator, or a manager of a lodging establishment from providing a certain personal cleansing product in a certain small plastic bottle under certain circumstances; authorizing an owner, an operator, or a manager of a lodging establishment to provide a certain personal cleansing product in a certain small plastic bottle under certain circumstances; providing for the enforcement of the Act; establishing certain penalties; etc.

HB0896 Environment – Statewide Green Business Certification Program – Establishment; Requiring the Department of the Environment to establish and administer a statewide green business certification program on or before July 1, 2022; requiring the green business certification program to recognize businesses operating in a way that reduces their environmental footprint and to provide consumers with information how to identify those businesses; requiring the Department to establish the green business certification program to conform with the Montgomery County Green Business Certification Program; etc.

HB1643 Environment – Organics Recycling and Composting – Grant Program: Requiring the Department of the Environment, in consultation with the Maryland Environmental Service, to establish a grant program to assist counties with certain costs associated with the collection, recycling, and composting of organics and other compostable materials from residential properties; specifying that sources of funding for the program consist of funds designated by the Department, funds appropriated by the State Budget, and any money made available from any public or private source; etc.

SB0840 Environment – Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Products – Definition: Altering the definition of “expanded polystyrene food service product” to exclude certain egg cartons shipped into the State for packaging, or within the State.

SB0926 / HB1425 Climate Solutions Act of 2020 – Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act: Requiring the Department of the Environment to establish and administer a statewide green business certification program on or before July 1, 2022; requiring the green business certification program to recognize businesses operating in a way that reduces their environmental footprint and to provide consumers with information how to identify those businesses; requiring the Department to establish the green business certification program to conform with the Montgomery County Green Business Certification Program; etc

SB0980 Industrial Partnerships – Sustainable Materials Management Program – Established: Requiring the Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program to enter into a certain memorandum of understanding with certain agencies to establish a Sustainable Materials Management Program; requiring the Governor to appropriate a certain amount in certain fiscal years to the Maryland Technology Development Corporation for a certain program; requiring the Maryland Technology Development Corporation to distribute certain funds to the Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program; etc.

HB0165 Solar Photovoltaic Recycling: Establishing a solar photovoltaic recycling fee; requiring a person installing a solar electric generating facility in the State to pay the fee beginning October 1, 2020; establishing the Solar Photovoltaic Recycling Fund; requiring 20% of the first sale price of each renewable energy credit sold to be deposited into the Fund; providing that the purpose of the Fund is to provide funding for technologies and processes that assist with the recycling of solar photovoltaic systems; etc. *Unfavorable Report by Economic Matters

HB0517 Constitutional Amendment – Environmental Rights: Proposing an amendment to the Maryland Constitution to establish that every person has the right to a certain clean and healthy environment; establishing that every person has the right to intervene in an action brought by the State or a political subdivision of the State to protect certain rights; prohibiting the State or a political subdivision of the State from causing diminution of or degradation to the State’s natural resources; submitting the amendment to the qualified voters of the State for their adoption or rejection; etc. *Withdrawn by Sponsor

 

MRN advocates on behalf of the Maryland recycling community to ensure that legislative initiatives achieve their stated goals in a cost- and time-effective manner without creating unintended consequences that hobble our mission to promote a healthy, sustainable environment. If you’re not a member, please support our efforts by joining today.