An Act Improving Recycling in the Commonwealth

Summary

This legislation establishes a new Municipal Recycling Enhancement Fund under the direction of an 11-member board, appointed by the Governor.  Money would be disbursed through a combination of population-based formulas and merit-based grants or awards.  The Fund would be used to support (1) Recycling collection programs (80% of funds) including performance-based grants, implementation of unit-pricing (pay as you throw) programs for trash, adoption of single-stream collection, grants for equipment and technical assistance, grants to redemption centers for innovative collection programs, and recycling promotion efforts and (2) Litter prevention and control programs (20% of funds) including grants for cleanup, litter education programs, improved public space recycling options, research, and enforcement of existing litter laws.  For the first year, the Fund will receive 50% of revenue provided from unclaimed beverage container deposits (the Clean Environment Fund).  In later years, the Fund will be supported by a 1¢ recycling fee on beverage containers sold for consumption in the Commonwealth.  Distributors and wholesalers of beverages will be responsible for registering with the Department of Revenue and paying the fee.  Concurrent with the onset of the recycling fee, the existing beverage container deposit law will end and containers currently subject to deposits will be managed through the existing and enhanced recycling systems in the Commonwealth.  At the termination of the deposit law, any unclaimed deposits remaining in distributors’ Deposit Transaction Funds will be transferred to the new Recycling Fund.  Other provisions require the Department of Environmental Protection to establish recycling programs in public facilities visited by at least 5,000 individuals annually, for the Division of State Parks and Recreation to provide recycling on reservations in the urban parks district.