Special Report

What Your State Will Pay You to Recycle

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While Kansas doesn’t have a specific program for giving back money in exchange for recyclable items or even a recycling rate goal, it does have a law requiring counties to perform annual reviews of their recycling efforts and to complete five-year plan updates. There has been a significant increase in recycling in parts of the state since 2011. There are locations in Lawrence where people can sell corrugated cardboard to paper companies, and there are businesses in that city that will buy used metals.

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The Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management sponsors projects to expand recycling, reduce the amount of solid waste going to landfills and improve the management of household hazardous waste. This year it is financing about 80 grants worth about $5 million.

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management oversees the Kentucky Pride Fund. In 2019, the fund, which is financed by a $1.75 fee for each ton of municipal solid waste disposed of in Kentucky landfills, announced it was funding 84 grants for recycling, composting, and hazardous waste totaling about $4.6 million. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, grant applications have been extended to May 1.

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Tax credits are available for people who buy qualified new recycling manufacturing or processing equipment. Corporations may also be eligible for a tax credit of 14.4% when purchasing recycling equipment.

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Maine is a little more generous with its refunds. People who recycle wine or liquor containers get 15 cents; all others are worth 5 cents. Drinks covered under the law include everything except dairy products and unprocessed cider. The containers have to be sealed, no more than four liters, and composed of glass, metal or plastic.

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In 2016, Maryland residents and businesses recycled 42.9% of the municipal solid waste generated. The state is working to encourage more recycling by educating the public about its benefits and by seeking new ways, such as pay-as-you-throw programs, to make it more popular.