Bottle, bag bills headed to summer study?

House committee chair aims for comprehensive review of state recycling, waste policies

  • Bottle deposit bill killed by committee apparently is headed for summer study, possibly along with stalled bag-fee and landfill diversion legislation.
Bottle deposit bill killed by committee apparently is headed… (File photo )
March 28, 2013|Tim Wheeler

The bottle deposit bill may be dead in the House, but its spirit evidently lives on. 

Del. Maggie McIntosh, chief sponsor of the measure that would have put a nickel deposit on all plastic, glass and metal beverage containers sold in Maryland, said this week that the House Environmental Matters Committee, which she chairs, intends to take a closer look at the proposal in the coming year.

The bill, HB1085, had the support of environmentalists, who note that the 10 states with beverage container deposit programs have much higher recycling rates than Maryland.  But it drew fire from retailers and beverage makers opposed to higher prices on their products. Local officials also objected, worried that it might hurt their recycling programs, despite assurances from proponents that the deposit would raise additional revenue for those efforts.

Though the bill officially got an "unfavorable report" from her panel, McIntosh said it was meant to be designated for "summer study."

The Baltimore city Democrat said she hopes to incorporate into the review two other bills that also appear headed for the dustbin this year - a proposal to levy a nickel fee on all disposable carryout bags and another "zero-waste" measure ostensibly aimed at diverting waste from landfills. The "bag bill," HB1086, unsuccessful in previous years, has been blocked again by retailers and bag makers, while the landfill bill, HB1266, has been fought by environmentalists, who say the legislation put forward by an incinerator company was more about burning trash than recycling it.

McIntosh said she would like to include all three bills in a broad review of state waste-management and recycling policies.  The hope, she said, would be to "come out with a framework for the future in Maryland to not only use but re-use more of what we dispose of."

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