Sen. Killion To Introduce Bill To Eliminate Sunset Date On $2 Recycling Fee
Sen. Thomas Killion (R-Delaware) Wednesday circulated a co-sponsor memo to his colleagues inviting them to co-sponsor legislation to eliminate the 2020 sunset date on the $2/ton recycling fee that supports Act 101 recycling grants and programs.
“The Act established a $2-per-ton fee on all waste disposed at municipal waste landfills and waste-to-energy facilities, established grants for local collection programs, public education, materials processing and composting facilities, equipment and technical training,” said Sen. Killion. “This fee is set to sunset in the near future. As a result of the sunset provision, recycling program agreements that are up for renewal with the Commonwealth are not being renewed.
“Today, more than 11.6 million residents, at least 94 percent of the state's population, have access to recycling. About 79 percent have convenient access to recycling through about 1,050 curbside pickup programs,” explained Sen. Killion.
The Department of Environmental Protection has stopped accepting new applications for Act 101 Recycling Implementation Grants until the issue with the sunset of the recycling fee is resolved.
The $2/ton fee is projected to bring in about $38 million in FY 2016-17. $9 million of that revenue was transferred to the state General Fund this year to help balance the state budget. (page H69)
A number of groups, including the PA Resources Council and Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny), Majority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, have suggested the now 29 year-old Act 101 Recycling Act is in need of an overhaul.
The law “as it exists today sets a very low bar, because that bar was a very high bar in 1988,” said Justin Stockdale, regional director of the PA Resources Council in Pittsburgh. “That's the nature of public policy. It was a very progressive, cutting-edge piece of legislation back then, the first of its kind in the nation.”
“Sometimes you need an element within the greater subject that creates a sense of urgency,” Rep. Maher said. “It's time for us to revisit and update this law. If we're going to have the fee, it becomes a question of, ‘What's the fee for? What are we trying to accomplish?' ”
For more information on Act 101 and recycling in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s Recycling In PA webpage.
Another recycling issue needing attention is the state’s 7-year old electronics waste recycling law that law bans the disposal of CRTs and other electronic waste in landfills and established an electronics recycling program that collects CRTs and other products for recycling to be paid for, within certain limits, by electronics manufacturers.
At a hearing in March 2016 by the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee, everyone involved in the program from local governments to recyclers said the law does not work and needs to be fixed because electronics manufacturers were not paying for all the material being collected.
An effort to get stakeholders to agree on a fix last session spearheaded by Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester), now retired, failed, though not for lack of trying.
Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Franklin) circulated a co-sponsor memo to his colleagues in February announcing his intent to introduce legislation to fix the law.
There are also a number of discussions going on in the House on the issue.
So, electronics waste recycling will also be on the agenda of the General Assembly this year, as it was last session.
For more information on the electronics recycling program, visit DEP’s Covered Device Recycling Act webpage.
[March 31, 2017]
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