Skip to main content

2024 MRN/SWANA Mid-Atlantic Annual Conference Recap

Home2023 Legislative Session Recap

2023 Maryland Legislative Session Recap

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*! 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!

This year’s 90-day session closed on April 10 after a head-spinning madhouse run through over 3,000 bills of which 810 made it across the finish line. The General Assembly passed only three (two of which we took a position on) of the 16 bills we were tracking (see below).  

Note: MRN began prepping for the 2023 session back in September 2022 working with legislators on e-cycling and EPR for packaging, as well as participating in a workgroup call on organics and AD systems (read here and here) and more. In addition, MRN Legislative Task Force chair, Chaz Miller testified on six bills (read recaps of testimonies here and here). MRN also provided written testimonies on two other bills.

Below is a recap along with notes on the final status of each bill.


SBO222 Environment - Statewide Recycling Needs Assessment and Producer Responsibility for Packaging Materials: Altering the definition of "organics recycling" to include the processing of certain compostable packaging materials in a certain manner; requiring the Department of the Environment to approve a single producer responsibility organization to represent the interests of producers by October 1, 2023; establishing a producer responsibility advisory council to provide advice and make recommendations regarding establishing and implementing a producer responsibility program in the State for packaging materials; etc.

Note: This is a very slimmed-down version of HB0284/SB0222 Environment – Reducing Packaging Materials – Producer Responsibility. In response to advocacy from MRN and several other industry organizations, the EPR bill was scaled back to the establishment of an Advisory Council and a Producer Responsibility Organization and most importantly, requiring a needs assessment to confirm a sustainable and financially viable basis on which to implement EPR in Maryland. The final version of the bill can be seen here.

Position: MRN continues to support EPR for packaging but also identified several concerns with the bill as written and offered changes for consideration including a recommendation for doing a needs assessment before any legislative action is taken (read full statements on SB0222 and HB0284). Based on our recommendations, we support this change and look forward to the next steps.

HB0586/SB0782 State Procurement - Purchasing Preferences - Compost, Mulch, and Soil Amendments: Requiring each unit of State government to give preference to certain products produced from organic materials when purchasing compost, mulch, or other soil amendments.

Position: MRN supported this legislation seeing it as an extension to HB164 - Recycling Market Development passed in 2021 and as a step forward in managing food waste in the state. We did suggest two amendments to clarify language and price preferences (read full statements on HB0586 and SB0782).

Stalled in committee unless otherwise noted:

HB0031 Environment – Products and Packaging – Labeling, Marketing, and Advertising for Recycling: Altering certain plastic resin labeling requirements for rigid plastic containers and plastic bottles to require the "chasing arrows" symbol; altering the capacity of the plastic bottles to which the plastic resin labeling requirements apply; establishing plastic resin labeling requirements for plastic bags; prohibiting the display of a certain symbol on plastic bags, plastic bottles, and rigid plastic containers if the bags, bottles, and containers do not meet certain requirements; prohibiting certain environmental marketing claims; etc.

Position: MRN supported the legislation with one amendment to clarify the definition of “Material Recovery Facility” (read full statement).

HB0109 Task Force on Recycling Policy and Recycling and Waste Systems in Maryland: Establishing the Task Force on Recycling Policy and Recycling and Waste Systems in Maryland to review the Maryland Recycling Act, study the recycling and waste systems in Maryland, and make recommendations on updating the Maryland Recycling Act and implementing regional recycling and waste disposal facilities; and requiring the Task Force to report its findings and recommendations to certain committees of the General Assembly by June 30, 2024. Passed House - Stalled in Senate

Position: MRN enthusiastically supported this bill noting that the 1988 Maryland Recycling Act is long overdue for an update that will represent the best of environmental objectives and improve how Maryland’s local governments manage recycling and waste (read full statement).

HB0255/SB0260 Maryland Paint Stewardship: Requiring producers of architectural paint 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 July 1, 2024, 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 beginning January 1, 2025; etc.

Note: Though versions of the Paint Stewardship bill (HB0255 and SB0260), which we supported passed both the House and the Senate, the final reconciled version did not make it through the chaotic rush to adjournment at midnight on April 10. Hopefully, the bill can succeed in 2024 after nearly five years on the docket.

Position: MRN fully supported the legislation seeing it as an opportunity to substantially increase recycling for a fairly ubiquitous product that is often hard for consumers to know how to properly dispose of unused paint (read full statement).

HB0342 Environment - Plastic Products - Postconsumer Recycled Content Program: Prohibiting certain producers of certain plastic products from selling, offering for sale, or distributing the products to any person in the State unless certain conditions are met; requiring certain producers of certain plastic products to, individually or as part of a representative organization, register and pay a certain annual registration fee to the Department of the Environment; establishing certain minimum postconsumer recycled content percentage requirements for certain products; etc.

Position: While MRN supported the bill in concept, we had several concerns including whether some of the goals are achievable given the fluctuation in the plastics market, and offered changes for consideration (read full statement).

HB0847/SB0447 Anaerobic Digestion Workgroup: Establishing an Anaerobic Digestion Workgroup to study, identify, examine, and make recommendations on certain aspects of anaerobic digestion; and requiring the Workgroup to report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly on or before December 30, 2023.

Position: MRN supported this legislation seeing it as an opportunity to create a solid foundation for organics material management in Maryland (read full statements on SB0447 and HB0847).

HB1089 Maryland Beverage Container Recycling Refund and Litter Reduction Program: Establishing the Maryland Redeemable Beverage Container Recycling Refund and Litter Reduction Program to increase the reuse and recycling of beverage containers and reduce the litter, pollution, and costs associated with beverage containers; establishing a framework for the redemption of redeemable beverage containers sold in the State; requiring that each redeemable beverage container sold in the State depict certain information beginning January 1, 2025; etc.

While MRN fully supports increasing recycling in our state, we had several concerns including the implications for local jurisdictions, particularly the negative impact on existing curbside collection programs in terms of loss revenue (read full statement).

Other legislation we followed in 2023 but did not take a position on:


•    HB0253/SB0262 Environment - On-Farm Composting Facilities - Permit Exemption

Stalled in committee unless otherwise noted:

•    HB0091 Environment – Recycling – Hotels (withdrawn)
•    HB0147/SB0250 Environment - Climate Crisis Plan - Requirement (withdrawn)
•    HB0517/SB0575 Drug Manufacturers - Drug Take-Back Programs (Take It Back Maryland Act)
•    HB0609/SB0768 Environment - Waste Haulers - Reporting Requirement
•    HB0930 Environment – Office of Recycling – Mattress Stewardship Program – Establishment
•    HB1086 Department of the Environment - Recycling Analysis and Report
•    HB1139 Solid Waste Disposal and Diversion and On-Farm Composting and Compost Use

Go to the Legislative & Regulatory page to learn more about MRN’s legislative advocacy and updates on upcoming sessions.

If you have any comments or questions in the meanwhile, please don’t hesitate to contact us by reply by email or at (443) 741-8740.

Support Our Recycling Community
Sign Up or Donate Today