Tuesday, June 13, 2017

DEP Urges Reauthorization Of $2 Recycling Fee Before Joint Conservation Committee

In testimony Tuesday, Department of Environmental Protection officials urged the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee to permanently reauthorize a crucial component of the landmark Act 101 of 1988 that established Pennsylvania’s recycling program.
A $2.00 per ton fee on non-recycled trash is set to expire January 1, 2020, and would affect grants for local municipality recycling collection programs, as well as other recycling services if it is not extended.
As a result of Act 101, about 90 percent of the Commonwealth’s population now has access to some type of recycling.
In 2015 alone, Pennsylvania recycled more than 10.3 million tons of materials.
Before Act 101 established the recycling program, Pennsylvania had approximately 1,500 local municipal dumps, many at or near capacity.
The $2.00 fee, called a tipping fee, helped establish modern recycling programs and facilities in Pennsylvania.
“There is still work to be done to bring Pennsylvania’s recycling and waste management programs into the 21st century,” noted George Hartenstein, DEP Deputy Secretary for Waste, Air, Radiation and Remediation in testimony before the committee.
The environmental benefits of recycling match the economic gains it generates.
Recycling plastic, metal, and paper products in Pennsylvania drives employment of more than 170,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state, and more than $1.7 billion in state and local government tax revenues, according to a new report from the PA Recycling Markets Center.
“In many ways, Act 101 was a landmark effort. In addition to modernizing waste disposal planning in the state, the Act took on waste minimization. And now, recycling has been woven into the fabric of our economy and into the behaviors of Pennsylvania residents,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “After 30 years, a whole generation has never known a time when you didn’t separate recyclables and place them at the curb or look for separate recycling containers in schools, public spaces, and offices.”
DEP has previously awarded multi-year grants to local governments using proceeds from the tipping fee through the Recycling Development and Implementation (Section 902) Grants. Applications for 902 Grants regularly exceed available funds, and grants have not been awarded since 2015 due to lack of funds and uncertainty of the future of the program.
“Recycling isn’t just a good environmental practice – it supports Pennsylvania workers and communities financially as well,” said McDonnell. “We need to make sure that we continue to have the resources to support this tremendous sector of our economy.”
The PA Recycling Markets Center was established by DEP to perform market studies and analysis and to undertake projects to stimulate the demand for recyclable materials.
Click Here for a copy of DEP’s testimony.
For more background on Act 101, visit DEP’s Recycling In Pennsylvania webpage.

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