Legislation would pin recycling reform costs on Oregon businesses

Manufacturers of packaging, paper products and food service-ware may have to help pay for recycling programs in Oregon.

Senate Bill 582, known as the Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act, secured a majority vote in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Friday (June 18, 2021) morning.

The bill relies on producers to cover the costs for an improved recycling system. Costs to producers would scale based on what materials they use and how much they sell in Oregon. This legislation aims to modernize Oregon’s recycling system, which is operating under the same policy framework established nearly 40 years ago.

This bill would require producers to join, pay membership fees and provide information to a producer responsibility organization. These PROs would report to the Department of Environmental Quality.

The DEQ will be allowed to set a one-time producer responsibility plan review fee, and an annual responsibility organization fee. Revenue from these fees would go toward ongoing costs of the recycling program.

Startup costs for the program are estimated to be over $2 million. Moving forward, the DEQ will support the program through fee revenue. Fees will be higher for non-recyclable products and those producing more pollution.

“The importance of this policy is that we can’t recycle our way out of the waste that we produce,” Rep. Janeen Sollman, D-Hillsboro, said in the Ways and Means hearing. “What’s important for having the producers be a responsible piece of this is that they will then be incentivized to use recycling material, or they’ll be incentivized to reduce or remove packaging all together.”

SB 582 would also provide a state list of what can be recycled and more access to recycling in Oregon.

The DEQ reported Thursday that several local businesses are supporting SB 582, including New Seasons Market, Bob’s Red Mill, Rogue Creamery and others.

“I am so encouraged by companies that recognize the urgent need for their involvement now, and ongoing partnership in the future, to address the complex challenges our recycling system faces,” DEQ Director Richard Whitman said in the release.

The bill will likely go to the Senate floor early next week, according to DEQ Communications Manager Harry Esteve. If it passes, it will move on to the House floor.

Posted at the Portland Business Journal on June 18, 2021 by Austin DeDios

Related: SB 582A; Recycling System, adds more red tape to recycling & recyclers

Date: 2021-06-19 10:16

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