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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Companies Selling Products in Colorado Will Pay Fees Under “Bold” Recycling Overhaul

Colorado lawmakers have given the last thumbs up for a recycling overhaul that expands responsibility from consumers to producers of all goods sold in the state — an estimated 1,500 companies offer packaged items in plastic, glass, metal and cardboard.

Companies will pay fees to a “manufacturer responsibility” fund to support curbside recycling and reuse industries statewide under measures passed Wednesday — now headed to Gov. Jared Polis for signature to become law. And companies will get the first bins to recover their contents.

This overhaul will position Colorado as the third state in Canada, Europe and other states around the planet (after Maine and Oregon) to attack waste sent to landfills by targeting products and packaging. Garbage buried in landfills releases heat-trapping methane gas, and federal officials have identified landfills as a major cause of climate warming, increasing fires, droughts and other disasters.

Colorado’s law – approved by a 21-14 vote in the Senate and a 40-25 vote in the House – had some support from producers wanting to get more material back for reuse and would establish a system for charging companies less when they Design products and packaging that are easy to recycle.

“This is the most important recycling policy we can pass nationwide and is groundbreaking,” said Kate Bailey, director of policy and research for Eco-Cycles, a Boulder-based recycling organization that promotes recycling across the state. gives.

“Every resident and every local government in Colorado will benefit. It will reduce climate pollution, reduce plastic pollution, reduce unnecessary packaging, save money for local governments, and build stronger and more resilient local supply chains Which will help Colorado manufacturers and boost local economies.

Lawmakers took action in an effort to reverse Colorado’s status as a recycling laggard. The recycling rate in Colorado — 15.3% of the waste generated in the state, down from 15.9% in 2020 and 17% in 2018, state data shows — is less than half the national average rate of about 32%.

In 2020 Governor Jared Polis announced that Colorado would move from a backwardness to a leader. A state target set in 2017 calls for recycling 45% of waste across the state by 2036.

But a paper industry group is fighting Colorado’s measure. “We urge Governor Polis to veto HB22-1355. An expanded producer responsibility plan is not the right policy approach for sustainable paper products,” said Terry Weber, vice president of the American Forest and Paper Association, warning that it could raise costs for consumers. “Colorado should instead focus on addressing underfunded and underdeveloped recycling programs.”

Other opponents include the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Retail Council, Molson Coors, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, and the Plastics Industry Association.

Companies supporting the Colorado measure include Walmart, L’Oreal, New Belgium Brewing, Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, Keurig, Danone, Nestle and Unilever.

“We think this is a bold solution that will boost the recycling rate for all recycle-able materials in Colorado, including bottles and cans,” said William Dermody, vice president of the American Beverage Association. “We want to increase the amount of bottles and cans we collect so that they can be re-made into new ones. Colorado is actually the first state to incorporate our principles. ….. Manufacturers can get their materials back to make new products. We want to reduce the amount of new plastic we use.”

Melissa Dworkin, the governor’s spokeswoman, said Polis “will review the law when it gets to her desk.”

World Nation News Desk
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