In one Western Maryland county, 350 tons of trash, yard and construction debris cross the scale each day at the landfill. In Annapolis, one new law is trying to cut that number down, making sure that statewide recycling rates are high and only what’s needed gets produced to begin with. While the legislation’s most significant effects still may be years away, bill sponsor Sen. Malcolm Augustine, D-Prince George’s, is trying to get Marylanders to consider their state.
“Think of the entire state as (you) would think of (your) own living room or (your) own family rooms,” the Harvard-educated Senate President Pro Tem said, in a phone interview. “Treat it the way that (you) would want (your) family rooms, (your) yard, (your) living rooms, to be treated.”
The environmental law, Statewide Recycling Needs Assessment and Producer Responsibility for Packaging Materials, signed by Democratic Gov. Wes Moore, calls for a report and an analysis of where Maryland is as a state when it comes to waste and recycling. The law also creates an advisory council to recommend how to hold producers of packaging to account. “We have a throw away culture as it relates to some of the physical things that we purchase,” Augustine said. “What’s different about this bill is it says, ‘Let’s try to deal with it up front.’ ”