Pro-business groups in Maine are reiterating their opposition to a bill that would require manufacturers to pay for disposal and recycling of product packaging, and they’re pointing to a white paper from an Ontario university researcher that suggests consumer prices would increase under such a plan.

The paper’s methodology and findings are being criticized by supporters of the measure, and its author admits there is not enough relevant information available to draw definite conclusions.

The bill, L.D. 1541, calls for what’s known as an extended producer responsibility plan, which would assess fees to product makers to reduce the public cost of recycling the packaging of their goods.

Lakhan’s paper asserts that the plan envisioned in L.D. 1541 would increase costs to producers by at least $99 million annually, a far higher number than the $17 million the Maine Department of Environmental Protection estimates packaging disposal costs Maine towns and cities every year.

The intent of the paper, was to illustrate the issues surrounding extended producer responsibility plans. There is no evidence such plans increase consumer costs.

Maine’s producer responsibility bill would create a system under which product makers would have to pay a fee on packaging material to help reimburse municipalities for recycling and disposal, and to improve recycling infrastructure and education.

Democrats on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted last month in support of the bill, the bill will now go to the full Legislature for a vote.

Maine is among a number of states considering packaging-related bills this year.

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.