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Emily Scarr
Maryland PIRG State Director

Author: Emily Scarr

Maryland PIRG State Director

(410) 467-9389

Started on staff: 2005
B.A., Vassar College

Emily directs strategy, organizational development, research, communications and legislative advocacy for Maryland PIRG. Recently, Emily helped win small donor public financing in Montgomery County, Howard County, Prince George's County, and Baltimore City; the Family and Firefighter Protection Act to ban flame retardants in children's products, furniture and mattresses; and, the Maryland Keep Antibiotics Effective Act to protect public health by restricting the use of antibiotics on Maryland farms. Emily serves on the Executive Committees of the Maryland Fair Elections Coalition, the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working, and the Maryland Tobacco Free Kids Coalition. She also serves on the Steering Committees for the Maryland Pesticide Action Network and Marylanders for Open Government. Emily lives in Baltimore with her husband, children, and dog.

Additional Groups Supporting: Maryland LCV, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 1000 Friends of Maryland, Blue Water Baltimore

Position: Favorable

Maryland PIRG and the groups listed above support the “Maryland Redeemable Beverage Container and Litter Reduction Program” HB 982, which establishes a statewide redeemable 5 cent deposit on single use beverage containers to decrease litter and waste. The program has a goal of achieving a 70% container recycling rate by 2022.

Marylanders see bottle trash as a problem; it litters our neighborhoods, our waterways, and our parks. We are ready to do something about it. Since July Maryland PIRG canvassers have had conversations with more than 15,000 people across the state, and we have found through our conversations that Marylanders are ready for a bottle deposit program. On Monday we began our delivery of more than 9,000 petitions to legislators in support of the program.

This year alone, more than 3 billion recyclable beverage containers will end up as litter or trash instead of getting recycled in Maryland.  To put that in perspective, that’s enough bottles and cans to wrap around the Chesapeake Bay 34 times. This means more leaky landfills, dirtier air from incinerators, and more litter and litter cleanup costs. And there are serious consequences – for public health, pollution, and our quality of life. Maryland can do better.

We know bottle deposits work because the 10 states that have it them have container recycling rates triple ours and have all seen major reductions in litter. The bottle bill is proven effective to reduce litter, increase recycling, and save cities and towns in litter and trash pick-up costs. A 2011 impact analysis by the University of Maryland's Environmental Finance Center asserts that "beverage container deposit programs have proven to be the most effective tool for reducing litter.”

We are enthusiastic about the changes from past redeemable deposit bills, especially that this bill holds the polluting industry, in this case the beverage and bottling industry, responsible for managing the waste they produce. While we would rather taxpayer dollars go to recycling initiatives instead of littler cleanup and trash collection, we are even more supportive of polluting industries being required to clean up their own mess.

Thousands of citizens are asking for a bottle bill because they want to clean up their neighborhoods, waterways, and communities.

Maryland PIRG encourages you to support SB 684/HB 982

Emily Scarr
Maryland PIRG State Director

Author: Emily Scarr

Maryland PIRG State Director

(410) 467-9389

Started on staff: 2005
B.A., Vassar College

Emily directs strategy, organizational development, research, communications and legislative advocacy for Maryland PIRG. Recently, Emily helped win small donor public financing in Montgomery County, Howard County, Prince George's County, and Baltimore City; the Family and Firefighter Protection Act to ban flame retardants in children's products, furniture and mattresses; and, the Maryland Keep Antibiotics Effective Act to protect public health by restricting the use of antibiotics on Maryland farms. Emily serves on the Executive Committees of the Maryland Fair Elections Coalition, the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working, and the Maryland Tobacco Free Kids Coalition. She also serves on the Steering Committees for the Maryland Pesticide Action Network and Marylanders for Open Government. Emily lives in Baltimore with her husband, children, and dog.