In 2013, the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture reviewed an unprecedented number of recycling bills. MassRecycle submitted a comprehensive comment letter and provided live testimony on a significant number of the bills that included our overarching opinion that any recycling legislation passed must be pragmatic, protect our environment, and respect existing municipal programs and recycling infrastructure and the jobs supported by both. As a result, the Joint Committee co-chairs, Representative Gobi and Senator Pacheco, took note of our reasoned approach and continued to collaborate with MassRecycle on these bills.

MassRecycle identified bill H.765 on universal recycling as one promising, comprehensive bill that could potentially move the needle on recycling in the Commonwealth, with the proper refinement. We began collaborating with the bill author, Claire Sullivan, former MassRecycle Board Member and President and current Executive Director of the South Shore Recycling Cooperative (SSRC). During one meeting with Representative Gobi, Rep. Gobi urged MassRecycle to leverage its network of stakeholders to develop consensus language for the bill that would be supported by all sectors.

In response, MassRecycle formed the MassRecycle Legislative Working Group to work on amendments to the bill that would be practical and amenable to all stakeholders. In addition to MassRecycle and the SSRC, representatives from the National Waste and Recycling Association (formerly NSWMA), Mass. Municipal Association (MMA), and Mass. Health Officers Association (MHOA) participate on the Working Group. MassDEP also consults to provide facts and data.

The Working Group has met several times throughout 2014 and continues to work on developing consensus language for the comprehensive recycling bill.

Pictured above: Senator Moore, Claire Sullivan, and Senator Pacheco present at MassRecycle's 2014 R3 Conference on their respective comprehensive recycling bills. Session moderated by Jefferson Smith.