This is great news ! Wisconsin has had
mandatory recycling in place since the early 1990's and, while not perfect, it
has worked very well. Without mandatory recycling, I doubt that we would have
the economies of scale for either collection, processing, or marketing.
Dane County, WI
Published: Jun 19, 2007 -
11:19:49 pm EDT
Recycling to be
mandatory? Compromise bill may be voted on soon in House
By Drew Volturo, Delaware State
DOVER -- Lawmakers
pushing two separate curbside residential recycling bills have reached a
compromise on legislation that would be mandatory and charge a $3 per ton
assessment on solid waste.
The measure, a combination of two bills that
had their supporters and detractors, was being shopped around Legislative Hall
Tuesday and could find its way to the House of Representatives floor for a
"We have been doing voluntary recycling for several years
and can't get much above 15 percent (participation among residents)," said
Rep. Pamela S. Maier, R-Newark, who is sponsoring the compromise
"I don't want folks to be afraid of the word 'mandatory,'
which always raises red flags."
Rep. Maier originally sponsored a bill
that would mandate curbside residential recycling, while Gov. Ruth Ann Minner
backed legislation calling for voluntary recycling and setting up a $3 per ton
The compromise measure incorporates many of the tenets of
the Minner-backed legislation, including the assessment, which would create a
fund to help with startup costs associated with recycling programs, and the
establishment of recycling goals.
Secretary of Natural Resources and
Environmental Control John A. Hughes said his department could live with the
mandatory recycling bill, but he prefers the original voluntary measure
because it would be more palatable to legislators and residents.
agree with getting recycling started, planting the seeds," Mr. Hughes
"We will reach the point when the majority of people see how well
recycling functions and the costs are balanced out by large-scale
Then, Mr. Hughes said, adopting a mandatory system
would be less controversial.
He noted that his hometown of Rehoboth
Beach has implemented voluntary curbside recycling through Delaware Solid
Waste Authority and many of his neighbors already have signed up for the
Mr. Hughes said he is concerned that mandatory recycling might
not pass, and the voluntary proposal might end up on the cutting room floor as
Clean Air Council community outreach director James Black said he
would have preferred a mandatory recycling bill without the assessment, which
is estimated to cost the average household 38 cents a month.
recycling is not as much of a problem as it used to be because people realize
to reach the goals we set, it has to be mandatory," Mr. Black
"It's better to have a compromise bill now because every year we
wait, the trash in the landfills is going to pile that much
But Delaware Solid Waste Authority CEO Pasquale "Pat" Canzano
said not establishing the assessment while requiring recycling creates an
unfunded mandate, which often is difficult to meet.
provides the ability for public and private entities to apply for grants for
recycling programs, which should increase the amount of recycling," Mr.
Under the legislation, a recycling fund would be
established and financed by a $3 per ton assessment on all solid waste --
excluding recyclables -- collected and/or disposed of in Delaware.
money, Deputy DNREC Secretary David Small said, would be available to private
companies, municipalities and community organizations as startup funds for
recycling programs and could be used to purchase equipment, such as a truck or
Once a local government reaches a recycling rate
of 30 percent, it would not be assessed the $3 a ton surcharge.
some point, around 30-40 percent recycling, towns would be saving enough in
tipping and disposal fees to cover recycling costs," Mr. Small
But how would the mandatory component of the legislation be
Rep. Robert J. Valihura Jr., R-Wilmington, a sponsor of the
original voluntary recycling bill and co-sponsor of the compromise measure,
said there are mechanisms in place to ensure the program's
Refuse brought to a landfill already is inspected for
contraband, asbestos and other contaminants. If trash haulers start bringing
in refuse with too many recyclables, the landfills would reject the loads and
could fine the haulers, Rep. Valihura said.
DSWA and DNREC, he said,
would develop the exact process.
The measure carries the goal of
increasing Delaware's recycling from 15 percent to 30 percent recycling by
2010 and 51 percent by 2015.
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Staff writer Drew Volturo can be reached at