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[GreenYes] Re: Recycling to be mandatory? Compromise bill may be voted on soon in House [Delaware]

What does "mandatory" mean?  Mandated availability of curbside recycling pickup to everybody?  Mandatory participation in available programs?  What exactly....? 

A close reading of the Delaware bill does not suggest that either would happen in Delaware as a result of it.

This is one of a long string of basically meaningless bills people have wrangled over without reading.....

Of course recycling should be mandatory.  But this word has long been used in Delaware as a red flag to stir up opposition....

Alan Muller
Green Delaware

At 11:52 AM 6/21/2007, Reindl, John wrote:

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.
Best wishes,
John Reindl
Dane County, WI
-----Original Message-----
From: GreenYes@no.address [ mailto:GreenYes@no.address]On Behalf Of RicAnthony@no.address
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2007 10:17 AM
To: GreenYes@no.address
Subject: [GreenYes] Recycling to be mandatory? Compromise bill may be voted on soon in House

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 News

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 vote soon.

"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 legislation.

"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 assessment.

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.

"We agree with getting recycling started, planting the seeds," Mr. Hughes said.

"We will reach the point when the majority of people see how well recycling functions and the costs are balanced out by large-scale participation."

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 program.

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 well.

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.

"Mandatory 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 said.

"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 higher."

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.

"(The bill) provides the ability for public and private entities to apply for grants for recycling programs, which should increase the amount of recycling," Mr. Canzano said.

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.

That 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 recycling containers.

Once a local government reaches a recycling rate of 30 percent, it would not be assessed the $3 a ton surcharge.

"At some point, around 30-40 percent recycling, towns would be saving enough in tipping and disposal fees to cover recycling costs," Mr. Small said.

But how would the mandatory component of the legislation be enforced?

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 success.

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.

Post your opinions in the Public Issues Forum at

Staff writer Drew Volturo can be reached at 741-8296 or dvolturo@no.address.

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