Senator Saviello, Representative Tucker, and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, my name is Ryan Parker and I am the Environmental Policy Outreach Coordinator for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. I appreciate this opportunity to testify in support of LD 56.
Maine’s Bottle Redemption Program, often described as “the Bottle Bill,” is one of the most successful recycling programs in our state’s history. For 40 years, this program has enhanced Maine’s beauty and reputation by reducing litter. Maine people recognize the bottle bill as a part of our culture. NRCM applauds efforts to expand on this successful program to further its goals.
Including the containers addressed in this bill makes sense from a litter reduction standpoint. These containers litter the side of roadways throughout Maine. We have no doubt that adding these small bottles to the Bottle Bill would have a beneficial outcome of reducing this source of avoidable trash.
Right now, the cost of dealing with this litter along Maine’s roads, ditches, beaches, and sidewalks is borne by municipalities and the State. In other words—taxpayers.
It is also important to note that this bill has the potential to help the hundreds of redemption centers around the state. Not since 2001 has the Legislature authorized an increase in the handling fees these small businesses depend on. The added volume and material these containers represent will be an asset to many redemption centers where the margins are razor thin.
We urge the Committee to support this effort to increase the effectiveness of Maine’s already highly successful Bottle Redemption Program. Thank you for this opportunity to provide comments. I would be glad to answer any questions you may have.