- Currently, studies indicate that each Maine resident generates at least four pounds of trash each day. Now, for the first time in 15 years, Maine lawmakers are examining ways the state can better manage its waste. This focus on increasing recycling comes at a time when the state’s recycling rate is 35%, falling significantly short of its 2014 goal of 50%.
- The legislature's Environment and Natural Resources Committee enlisted the Mitchell Center at the University of Maine to examine how other states and municipalities have improved their recycling rates.
- Maine is also looking at updating its trash-to-energy laws, which enable wood, paper and other combustibles to be burned to generate electricity. Sen. Tom Saviello, co-chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, expects the final package to be controversial.
"We set some recycling goals … we aren't coming close to meeting those goals, so as a result we have to look at why and what can we do to help them," Saviello said to MPBN News.
"We have things like the polystyrene foam ban in Portland, polyethylene bags in Westport Connecticut ...And then things like single serve PT bottles being banned in Concord, Massachusetts," says Travis Blackmer of the Mitchell Center.
"This bill is the kitchen sink, it's got everything in it. Some things people are not going to like," said Saviello. For instance some people won’t like including juice containers in the list of returnable items, and assessing a deposit. But committee members are hard pressed to make changes fast. MPBN News reported that the state could run out of licensed landfill space in 15 years.