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Producer Responsibility Organizations
Sounds similar to emission reduction goals.

When a half page bill is turned into a 93-page amendment an alert should go up. An amendment doesn’t get the public notice and opportunity to testify as a bill does. The -1 amendment to SB 582 is an attack on free markets. Taxes and fees on foods have typically been a taboo. Legislators have still found ways to get around it by taxing the production and transportation systems. Northwest Observer wrote on Extended Producer Liability warning it would show up in bills, but this is an all-encompassing step to control everything we purchase by making the producer responsible for recycling.

Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) introduced SB 582 and serves on the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment that authored -1 amendments. It requires producers or co-producers to register with and be a member of a Producer Responsibility Organization that administers a producer responsibility program and provide records of tracking. Producers include sellers of products, packaging, manufacturing, importers, shippers, and persons distributing printed material, which may require membership in several organizations. If a Producer is in violation of labeling a recycling symbol, they cannot register with a Producer Responsibility Organization and therefore cannot do business in Oregon.

The Department of Environmental Quality approves or may revise the producer responsibility program plan, and reimburses expenses of local government service providers for eligible costs for transporting recycling. If no recycling transportation available, they must establish recycling events or drop centers.

Buried in local government responsibilities is state controls requiring that when providing a recycle program it must include all materials on the statewide collection list along with requirements for collection space and service standards. It also requires that a service processor ensures the health, safety and wellness of workers at the facility regardless of whether the workers are employees, independent contractors or employees of another business, which insulted the recyclers in the hearing.

Failing to consult with manufactures using recycled materials, they missed an opportunity to utilize recyclable materials. Pak Tech is an Oregon Corporation focused on manufacturing market that demands products are made from 100% recycled materials (rHDPE) and ending up with a product that itself is 100% recyclable. However, they claim that Oregon lacks proper recycling of milk containers they use so they import from California and Canada to make their products. In 2020 alone, they utilized over 22 million pounds of rHDPE (equivalent of over 165 million milk containers) in creating recycled products shipped around the world. However, the proposed program isn’t interested in waste reuse by for-profit businesses and focuses on public bodies, and nonprofits.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Senator Art Robinson mentioned three paths for recycling, first it goes directly to a landfill that works its way into heat and carbon dioxide over time, the second way is to make a product out of recycling materials that eventually ends up in the landfill and into heat and carbon dioxide. The third way is to produce energy and you end up with electricity out of the bargain, which the state could sell for profits. Oregon only has one, so investment in more garbage burning plants could answer more than recycling questions.

SB 582 -1 amendment also creates a litter and marine debris cleanup and prevention program requiring producer responsibility organization to issue grants to the tone of $10 million per year. There are of course fees for everything including certification and permits, and it allows for legislative appropriations to two funds: Producer Responsibility Fund and Waste Prevention and Reuse Fund.

The bill establishes within the Department of Environmental Quality, the Oregon Recycling System Advisory Council compensated to administer and enforce the program. The DEQ is required to establish recycling contamination reduction goals. Sounds similar to emission reduction goals.

Senator Michael Dembrow suggested that industry is forcing this action, but he was pushed back by several industries testifying with robust programs that were not invited to the discussions until very late in the process or not at all. The food industry said they weren’t consulted at all and it would cost them millions that would have to be past to consumers. This seems to be the norm for leadership to not invite stakeholders until the path is laid. Recycling and taking care of our surroundings is a good thing, but is it the job of government to micromanage our lives and not give the free market the responsibility?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-03-02 19:10:04Last Update: 2021-03-02 19:24:00



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