CAPE ELIZABETH — The Natural Resources Council of Maine is asking Cape Elizabeth Town Council to express support on a recycling bill the organization has submitted to Maine legislation.

More than 20 Maine municipalities have signed on in support of a recycling reformation proposal, which would involved extended producer responsibility, said Chrissy Adamowicz in early February. Adamowicz is the Sustainable Maine outreach coordinator at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

For various reasons, including COVID-19, Maine municipalities are struggling for recycling, she said. Taxpayers are currently responsible for programs.

Recycling in Maine has become more difficult over the years. Courtesy photo Natural Resources Council of Maine

The proposed bill would create a stewardship law, requiring product manufacturers to share in the responsibility of collection and recycling or disposal of their products and packaging, Adamowicz said. About 40 percent of waste is packaging, most of which is recyclable.

The program is meant to save taxpayers money, she said. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection estimates that taxpayers would save $16 million to $17.5 million annually.

Brands and manufacturers would pay fees based on packaging materials they use, based on recyclability, and municipalities in Maine would be compensated for managing waste, Adamowicz said.

The organization is asking the Cape Elizabeth Town Council to show support through a nonbinding resolution, she said.

“That doesn’t mean it’s not important because legislators need to know that municipality want this, especially since we’d be the first in the nation to adopt it,” Adamowicz said.

The resolution proposal will be on the March meeting agenda item, said council chair Jamie Garvin.

Councilors said they were mostly in support of the resolution, and Town Manager Matt Sturgis said of the resolves in 2021, this would probably be one of the easier ones.

Councilor Gretchen Noonan said she didn’t need every one of her questions answered currently in order to express support.

“We would just be expressing our support for the general concept, and we can worry about the details of it later,” she said. “And if we saw things concerning that came up as they were building the legislation, then we could work with our representatives or through the Maine Municipal Association to get those addressed.”

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