The “Green Police” are on their way

Senate Bill #234 is an act to amend titles 7 and 30 of the Delaware code related to recycling and beverage containers. This bill is being hailed as a revolutionary effort to make statewide recycling in Delaware a reality. One wonders if the supporters of this bill have actually read the fine print. Despite the jokes about the “Green Police” it seems they may be a distant reality for Delaware.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara claims the bill would not result in homeowners being penalized for not recycling. “There is no part of this bill that envisions a trash police.” Interestingly enough 6059 (a) of the bill discusses enforcement to the collectors of waste, including civil and administrative penalties. Violations shall result in, for the first conviction, a $100 to $500 fine for each day of violation. Violators will “for each subsequent conviction of the same offense within a 10 year period, be fined not less than $500 nor more than $1,500 for each day of violation”. How long until those fines transfer to individual home owners as the waste collectors cannot enforce families disposing of their waste in the wrong container?

Who will enforce these penalties? The bill in 6058 discusses the establishment, composition, and responsibility of the “Recycling Public Advisory Council”. The council shall consist of 14 members to be appointed by the Governor, 5 of these members will represent community-based or public-based interest groups. Which interest groups will be represented in this council? As the General Assembly elects no members to the Recycling Public Advisory Council, only the Governor will know this.

Senate Bill 234 discusses in section 7 an additional license for retailers. The next high point of the bill is a Recycling Fee on beverage sales. Each retailer shall pay a Recycling Fee of $0.04 on each “beverage container” sold. Retailers will inevitably pass this tax onto the consumer. This tax currently has a sunset date, yet one wonders if the sun will actually set on this or any tax.

The Caesar Rodney Institute has done extensive research regarding SB 234 and has released the following information: “Our analysis of the Universal Recycling bill, SB234 indicates 13,500 tons/ yr. will be diverted from our landfills with a value of $337,500. The stated start up cost of the bill is $22 million. It will take 65 years to pay back the start up costs!”

This bill creates numerous government jobs on a budget that is already operating in the red. New taxes are created that will affect both consumers and retailers. In an effort to endorse recycling the state will force its people to new regulations. Recycling has its merits, but this is a bill that has no place in the laws of Delaware.

This bill will be voted on in the House on Tuesday, May 11th. Please call your representative and tell them to vote accordingly.

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