Across the United States, recycling laws seem to be getting more strict. There is no national law that mandates recycling, so state and local governments are often the ones who introduce recycling requirements. Sometimes states team up with non-profit organizations to implement a successful recycling program.
Recycling Laws and Regulations
Individual states and cities can create recycling goals or landfill bans of recyclable materials. Some states that have landfill bans include Wisconisin, Minnesota, Michigan, and North Carolina. Some cities even have a plastic bag ban. According to the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC), there are currently 25 states that have electronics recycling laws of some type. The ERCC is a forum for coordination and information exchange among the state/local agencies that are implementing electronics recycling regulations.
Some cities and states, such as Seattle, have created mandatory recycling laws for both commercial entities as well as citizens by charging fines to those who throw away recyclable materials. Minnesota is also implementing recycling legislation that is getting more strict for commercial entities such as businesses and sporting facilities. CalRecycle is working to encourage increased recycling in California’s commercial sector by creating a mandatory commerical recycling law.
A number of U.S. states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont have passed laws that establish deposits or refund values by encouraging reusing and recycling of beverage containers. This is known as a Bottle bill or container deposit law. Most states refund five cents per can or bottle, but some can refund up to10 cents.
Commercial entities have the greatest potential to significantly increase recycling and reduce waste. Those businesses that generate large volumes of recyclable materials may also have an opportunity to reduce the costs related to disposing of it as waste. With recycling laws and mandatory recycling becoming more widespread, the commercial sector should especially be prepared. Working towards an improved recycling program is advantageous to both a business plan and the environment.