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Statement of Emily Scarr, Maryland PIRG Director in response to Governor O’Malley’s Zero Waste Plan for Maryland.
“Governor O’Malley’s Zero Waste Plan is a big step in the right direction, and we applaud the Administration for putting together this exciting plan, but Maryland PIRG is very disappointed to see the inclusion of trash incineration in the plan.
“Our incinerators are spewing toxic pollution and our landfills are leaking. That’s because we bury, burn or export more than 50 percent of our waste in Maryland. We can reach zero waste by reducing the amount of resources we use, reusing what we can, and recycling the rest.
"We are excited to see programs to expand recycling and container recycling laws included in the plan. Maryland PIRG has long been a proponent of container deposit programs, like bottle bills, as a proven effective and popular public policy to incentive recycling and reduce litter..
“Maryland PIRG is disappointed that the plan privileges incineration. The state should focus on increasing diversion rates, not privileging one outdated disposal system over another outdated disposal system. Incinerators are expensive and they discourage waste reduction and recycling because the business model requires a constant flow of waste, which works directly against efforts to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost.
“One of the added benefits of Zero Waste programs is the government does not need to fund everything. By implementing policies that create a supply of materials, be they plastics, glass, or organic waste, industry will respond by investing up front to capture those valuable materials
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