Governor Janet Mills signed a controversial bill on Monday that will make Maine the first state in the nation to charge producers of packaging products for recycling or disposing costs and use the money to fund local recycling programs.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Nicole Grohoski, D-Ellsworth, was backed by environmental groups that aim to shift the costs of recycling from local taxpayers to producers. It was heavily opposed by those producers and the business lobby, which argued that the program would raise prices of basic consumer goods, including groceries.

The bill came amid rising recycling costs and a push to increase recycling rates. Its future was uncertain after Mills raised concerns about disposal costs. Her staff was noncommittal after the Maine Department of Environmental Protection signed off on a version of the measure. It did not dissuade the Democratic-led Legislature, which passed the bill by comfortable margins.

Megan Diver

Megan has worked in Maine politics for more than ten years and all of her professional career, having served in many roles for elected officials (including former Secretary of State Charlie Summers), in-house with the Maine Association of REALTORS®, legislative specialist at Pierce Atwood LLP providing lobbying services and support to Pierce Atwood’s government relations clients and most recently senior government relations specialist at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. Megan currently is the Vice President at the Maine Energy Marketers Association, utilizing her vast knowledge and legislative experience at the State House to represent MEMA on policies relating to the Association and its members.