SALEM-- A bill to modernize Oregon's recycling system and require producers to start covering some waste management costs cleared its final legislative hurdle on Friday. Senate Bill 582 is now headed to Gov. Kate Brown's desk where she is expected to sign it.
Environment Oregon State Director Celeste Meiffren-Swango released this statement in response:
"We applaud the Oregon legislature for passing Senate Bill 582. For decades, we've all had to pay the costs associated with plastic pollution: The cost of disposing of it; the public health costs of pollution from plastic trash in our incinerators and landfills; and the incalculable cost that plastics are inflicting on our environment. Yet somehow, producers of wasteful single-use plastic products have avoided paying up. Senate Bill 582 begins to change that by requiring producers to start bearing some of the costs of the waste management system. It's not everything we want, but it's a step in the right direction.
"This bill will also lead to a lot of much-needed improvements to our recycling system and make it work better for Oregon. But the reality is recycling is not going to fix all of our environmental challenges. It is simply not enough to have a place for our garbage to go -- we need to focus on creating less garbage in the first place. Single-use plastics in particular are causing significant harm to public health, our waterways and our wildlife. More needs to be done to address that growing problem.
"We hope that next session the Oregon legislature will focus their efforts on the other two Rs, ‘Reduce’ and ‘Reuse’, and continue moving our state towards a cleaner, greener future."