AUGUSTA — Legislators will hear testimony this afternoon on a statewide household paint recycling program proposed by the paint industry.
The bill, L.D. 1308, would require paint manufacturers to set up a recycling system funded by a fee on paint sold in the state. It was drafted by the paint industry, which is seeking to pass such laws at state houses across the country, but is expected to be supported by environmental groups and municipalities.
“It would save Maine taxpayers millions in disposal costs while protecting the environment by keeping bulky and toxic products out of landfills and incinerators,” Abby King of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said in a written statement issued earlier this week.
Jim Cohen, the lobbyist representing the American Coatings Association, which drafted the bill, says the industry has sought to get ahead of the paint recycling issue by introducing its own plan. He said it also seeks to have the same approach adopted in various U.S. states, ensuring efficiency and reducing costs that might be passed on to consumers.
It is not clear if Gov. Paul LePage’s administration will support or oppose the bill. In the past, the administration has tried to eliminate existing laws and weaken programs that require manufacturers to be responsible for recycling their products.
Public testimony on the bill will be heard by legislators on the Environment and natural resources committee Thursday afternoon in Augusta. The paint bill is sponsored by Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton.
Legislators will also hear testimony on another bill that seeks to make changes to present and future product stewardship programs, which are recycling programs that require manufacturers to take back their products.
L.D. 1335, sponsored by Rep. Joan Welsh, D-Rockport, creates a standardized framework for all product stewardship programs. It would also repeal an existing legal requirement that retailers take back used cell phones, a measure recommended by the DEP in a report to the legislature earlier this year.