Friday, April 30, 2010

Statewide Recycling Passes the Senate

After more than two hours of debate, the Senate yesterday passed Senate Bill 234 by a convincing margin of 17 to 3. SB 234 would institute statewide recycling for Delaware and replace the current five cent bottle deposit with a four cent fee.
DNREC Secretary Collin O'Mara was quick to reassure senators that the bill would not create any "trash police," and would not provide for any fines or sanctions for households or businesses that didn't participate. Ease of use will drive participation, without any need for coercion.

As for the economics, O'Mara pointed out that even when the DSWA has to pay someone to take a ton of recyclables off its hands (due to low commodity prices), it is still less than the cost of landfilling.
As the News Journal reports,
opponents of the measure call it a tax instead of a fee. Much of the two hours of debate was given to the matter. David Swayze, representing the out of state Glass Bottling Institute, offered the "if it quacks like a duck" argument for calling it a tax. But the Senate attorney, who was called to the floor several times, pointed out that the fee was limited to a specific purpose and didn't meet the definition of tax, which is why the bill could originate in the Senate, and not the House.
Next up will be the House Natural Resources Committee. Stay tuned.

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