The Rising Cost of Recycling: An Environmental & Fiscal Crisis
Rep Driscoll Voices Support for H.750, An Act to save recycling costs in the Commonwealth
During the Special Town Meeting on Monday, December 2, our town government was forced to rebalance the budget to account for increased waste management costs. I commend those who were involved in deftly closing the gap while ensuring that harmful cuts were not made. The rise of recycling costs is by no means an issue exclusive to Milton, it is an international concern. Once upon a time recycled material was a revenue generator for municipalities, but in today's market it is costly to dispose of. It is a problem for us locally and what happened in the recent Town Meeting could have resulted in a lot worse. This comes as Milton pays the same amount to dispose of a ton of trash as we are for a ton of recycling, which our Town Administrator characterized as unheard of in the waste management industry. In an effort to push for less waste in the market, to save taxpayers' money and to limit future Town Meeting actions like this, I am supporting H.750, An Act to save recycling costs in the Commonwealth, filed by my friend and colleague State Representative Michael Day (D-Stoneham).
H.750 is a step in the right direction because although cities and towns cannot control the amount of wasteful packaging materials that enter the Commonwealth, we can hold the companies creating the waste accountable by making them share the financial responsibility for the cost of recycling. Currently municipalities must cover the costs and at times have to make budget adjustments to do so because in the end, there are several environmental incentives. However, it can be an unfair system that places the financial burden on residents to pay the increasing costs of recycling for products they themselves may not have purchased. This is because there are no economic incentives for producers of printed paper and packaging to use recycled materials or those that can be easily recycled; H.750 would change that.
This legislation, if passed, would require those packaging producers to pay fees (the harder to recyclable the product, the higher the fee), which would then serve as reimbursements for up to 80 percent of a municipality’s recycling costs. This bill will save taxpayer money, encourage manufacturers to produce less wasteful packaging, and overall it will make recycling significantly easier to achieve in all municipalities across Massachusetts. I strongly support this bill and it is my belief that this legislation will greatly benefit Milton, Randolph, and our Commonwealth.