Maryland Bills Take Aim at Tire Recycling

A bevy of bills introduced early in Maryland’s legislative session received swift attention from the tire recycling industry. A coalition of tire recycling forces gathered at two hearings held in February, effectively killing one measure and helping send another back for a rewrite.

Representatives from the Bowie, MD-based Tire Industry Association (TIA), the Washington, DC-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the Synthetic Turf Council (STC), Atlanta, GA and others provided both in-person and written testimony in opposition to the bills — HB 1547, HB 1032 and HB 1098.

HB 1547, a Synthetic Turf and Turf Infill Producer Responsibility bill received an unfavorable report from the Economic Matters Committee and died in committee on a 15-5 vote on February 19.

Maryland Flag

Photo Credit: Stuart Kaplow

The bill, as introduced would have established restrictions on the sale, distribution, importation, or offering for promotional purposes of synthetic turf and turf infill in the State unless the producer of the turf or turf infill submitted to and had a stewardship plan approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). It would have established requirements for MDE and set restrictions on the reuse and disposal of synthetic turf and turf infill. The bill also would have established requirements for tracking the chain of custody of synthetic turf and turf infill, from manufacturing through its final disposition.

HB 1032, a Solid Waste Management bill that would have prevented or limited the Environment Department from issuing permits for the use of scrap tires or tire derived materials for fuel, or for use in artificial turf, essentially shutting down these recycling markets in the state, was heard before the Environment and Transportation Committee, February 26.

Representatives from TIA, ISRI and STC spoke in opposition to the bill, citing the economic and environmental benefits tire recycling provides for Maryland citizens.

After the hearing, it was learned that HB1032 had been sent out of committee to be rewritten as “more of a zero-waste bill”. According to TIA and other tire recycling representative at the hearing, it is unlikely tires will be in the bill when it is rewritten.

A third Maryland bill, HB 1098, Use of Public Funds – Playground and Athletic Field Surfaces, which would give purchase preference to grass/ natural athletic fields in the state and prohibit state funding for synthetic turf fields was heard in the House Appropriations Committee, March 10. TIA, STC and ISRI representatives testified in opposition to the bill and submitted comments.

© Scrap Tire News, March 2020