Single-use plastic straws have recently come under fire, much like single-use plastic shopping bags and plastic microbeads. This year, Seattle became the largest U.S. city to ban the use of plastic straws and...

While Americans have shown an increased willingness to recycle paper goods, cans and bottles in recent years, recycling rates for toxic or hazardous products such as batteries and electronics are lagging behind. But states are ramping up efforts to change that. That’s according to Chaz Miller, director of policy and advocacy for the National Association of Waste and Recycling, who discussed emerging issues in product stewardship laws in the states and shared lessons learned from successful programs at a Feb. 2 CSG eCademy webcast, “Managing Solid Waste through Product Stewardship Laws.”

Hawaii recently became the first state in the country to ban the use of disposable plastic bags. Beginning in July 2015, retailers across the entire state will be prohibited from issuing non-biodegrade checkout bags and paper bags that are not at least 40 percent recycled. 

CSG South

This Regional Resource from The Council of State Government' Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), focuses on the recycling industry in the Southern states. Advocates of landfills long have argued that a comprehensive recycling system is not an economically viable solution to the increases in municipal solid waste created by a growing population. In this regard, the states of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) of The Council of State Governments (CSG) have demonstrated that this presumption is incorrect and that, even in rural areas with low population densities, the jobs, supply chains and manufacturing facilities created by investment and participation in the recycling industry deliver significant, direct economic rewards. With strategically located primary collection points, community education and relatively few tax incentives, SLC states have promoted economic development and allowed local markets to deliver the goods necessary to supply the thriving recycling manufacturing industry of the South and negate the need to import these commodities from outside sources. This Regional Resource focuses on the economic analyses of recycling, especially in the SLC states, and the viable solutions that Southern states have realized with regard to the recycling of municipal solid waste (MSW) components. Further, by providing a 15-state compendium of the executive agency programs and legislative actions in the Southern region, this report offers a baseline for interstate comparison.

Two years ago, Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Mulligan was concerned the trial courts in his state weren’t addressing environmental sustainability.

So he put together the Trial Court Energy Task Force, better known as the Green Team.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act requires secondary metal recyclers to require identification and maintain a registry of additional information with regard to each purchase of ferrous or nonferrous metals including copper, brass, aluminum, bronze, lead, zinc, and nickel. This allows state and local law enforcement agencies to place a hold on metal purchases by a secondary metal recycler if the metal purchased is suspected of being stolen.