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MRN 2022 Legislative Action Committee Hard at Work

Published on 2/1/2022

State of Maryland

The 2022 Maryland General Assembly is off and running, and so are we here at MRN. Our Legislative Action Committee has been hard at work connecting with legislators and preparing our testimonies on several relevant bills (we’ll keep you updated on testimonies).

Prior to the start of the session, we announced a list of legislative priorities (ranging from EPR, truth in labelling to post-consumer recycled content requirements) that we hoped to see advance in the new session. You can now view updated information on those as well as other bills under consideration on our Legislative & Regulatory page.

As of today, we have taken a position on three bills. Below is a brief statement regarding each. Please be sure to click on the relevant links for the full statements.

HB0018/SB0143 Maryland Paint Stewardship - Support with amendments

MRN supports HB 18 and SB 143 with the two amendments to allow sufficient time for counties to include the volume of paint collected in their annual MRA report due April 1.

If passed this bill has the opportunity to substantially increase recycling opportunities for a fairly ubiquitous product that is often hard for consumers to know how to properly dispose of. Paint recovery has been very successful in a number of other states. The use of a visible recycling fee, the reality that paint is usually used shortly after it is purchased and the ability to return the unused portion for recycling are among the reasons for this success. Marylanders will benefit by learning from those successes.

HB0217 Task Force on Recycling Policy and Recycling and Waste Systems in Maryland - Favorable

MRN enthusiastically supports House Bill 217, which calls for the creation of a Task Force consisting of 21 key stakeholders from throughout the state to review the Maryland Recycling Act along with studying Maryland’s recycling and waste systems and to make recommendations on updating the Act and recommendations for improving waste and recycling in Maryland.

Careful review of the Maryland Recycling Act, enacted in 1988, is most appropriate given the passage of 34 years. It is important to ensure the act is updated to embody the best of environmental objectives, as it is appropriate to improve how Maryland’s local governments manage recycling and waste. Furthermore, we appreciate that House Bill 217 provides for an MRN representative to serve on the Task Force.

HB0307/SB0292 Environment - Packaging Materials - Producer Responsibility - Unfavorable

MRN has consistently supported EPR proposals. One of our priorities for this legislative session is to see the paint EPR bill pass both houses. We have also formed a task force to modernize Maryland’s electronic products EPR law.  Unfortunately, we see fundamental flaws in HB307 as written and cannot support it at this time.

We understand the desire to keep the bill simple and short. But the questions and concerns raised in our statement are crucially important to local governments and recycling service providers. We do not believe legislation should cover every facet of a packaging EPR law. However, we believe the best EPR packaging law for Maryland will provide guidance for these key issues now instead of waiting for MDE and a producer group to solve them with no legislative guidance. The questions we have raised need answers. Maryland county and municipal governments and the Maryland recycling industry have too much at stake.

*Testimony to be provided during Environment and Transportation Committee meeting on February 2, 2022 @ 1 p.m. (virtual)

We’ll continue to work with legislators to help draft bills that we believe will help advance our mission. If you have any comments or questions in the meanwhile, please don’t hesitate to contact us by email or at (443) 741-8740. Not a member? Please support our work by joining today.

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