Family of four could pay more than $50 a month more for groceries
A new study released last week estimates that a bill being considered by the Maine Legislature could increase the cost of consumer products by between $99 million and $134 million a year, leading to a potential cost increase for a family of four of between $32 per month and $59 per month.
The study, conducted by Dr. Calvin Lakan at York University in Toronto, examined the implications of LD 1541, which would create the first extended producer responsibility (EPR) law on packaging materials in the United States.
“This study clearly shows that if LD 1541 were to pass, it would increase the direct cost of living for Maine families. As a member of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee, I can say unequivocally that now is not the time to increase these costs on Maine families and businesses,” said Dana Connors, president and CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce.
There is no evidence that the bill in its current form will improve the recycling system, reduce local taxes, or decrease the amount of packaging material sent to landfills.
“Shoppers are facing the highest increase in pricing for consumer goods that they’ve seen in the last nine years. Establishing an EPR program for packaging is a policy of great magnitude and complexity, and it is imperative that it is not expedited through the legislative process at the risk of significant financial impact on Maine families,” said Christine Cummings executive director of the Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association. “Maine's economy is not large enough to single-handedly redefine the packaging market nor recycling markets. This policy simply shifts millions of dollars via a hidden tax on consumer products and neglects to create long-term solutions for a circular economy. Prices at the grocery store are already going up and this will drive them even higher.”