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Friday, March 31, 2023
ArlingtonPoliticsRepublicans drop trio of bills into recycling pile

Republicans drop trio of bills into recycling pile

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A trio of measures designed to shift some of the costs of recycling to manufacturers died on consecutive party-line votes in a House of Delegates subcommittee.

The measures – supported by environmental groups and local governments but opposed as written by many trade organizations – would have required manufacturers to pay into a state fund based on the amount of materials used in packaging and the recyclability of the materials. Funds would go to the Department of Environmental Quality, with some of them forwarded along to local governments to support recycling programs.

The bills – by Democratic Dels. Mark Keam, Alfonso Lopez and Betsy Carr – died on 6-4 votes in a Jan. 26 subcommittee meeting.

Carr (D-Richmond) said the bills were designed to “start a discussion” rather than necessarily be enacted as is.


“There are a lot of stakeholders who can come together . . . to kind of balance out the recycling responsibilities,” she said.

Vienna Town Council member Steve Potter, who testified in support of Keam’s measure, said the proposal would incentivize producers to redesign their packaging to limit materials used.

“There is a vital global need to do so,” he said.

Potter also said the measure would bring fairness to the process, as currently, recycling efforts in the commonwealth are being done “at the taxpayers’ expense.”

(One of course could argue it would still be done at taxpayers’ expense, via higher prices for items they purchase, as manufacturers and retailers undoubtedly would pass the higher costs on to the consumer.)

Republicans may have killed the measures for 2022, but some seem interested in pursuing options down the road.

“Let’s find a way to incentivize packagers [to reduce waste],” said Del. Tony Wilt (R-Harrisonburg).

The bills were HB 647, HB 918 and HB 709.

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