Maryland is among several states taking steps to strengthen its local recycling markets, a movement that has gained steam in recent years in response to disruptions from China’s recyclable scrap import bans and tightened contamination standards.
“These markets have dried up because of a significant drop in overseas demand for recyclables,” Stein said during a committee hearing in January.
The bill directs Maryland’s recycling office, part of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), to make recommendations on how to improve markets for recycled materials and products, including measures for reducing contamination. The recycling office would also be tasked with looking for opportunities to bolster recycled material use within the state and encourage state agencies and others to use products with recycled content. It would further be responsible for keeping track of “recyclable materials that are in need of recycling assistance,” according to the bill.
Sarah Price, legislative and membership associate of the Maryland Retailers Association, said the bill is also good for creating jobs and supporting businesses in the state. Her association urged the bill to support an “investment in recycling infrastructure as an alternative to banning single-use products,” in testimony to the Senate Education, Health and Environment committee.