Here is the testimony from our Maryland PIRG Students Board of Directors: Rob Swam (Bel Air, MD), Grace Davis (Bel Air, MD), Demi Riley (Forest Hill, MD), Aaron Aber (College Park, MD), Morgan Folger (College Park, MD)
Maryland PIRG Student supports the “Maryland Redeemable Beverage Container and Litter Reduction Program” (HB 982). Maryland PIRG Student Chapters is a statewide, student directed, student funded public interest advocacy organization.
We’ve been working at the University of Maryland College Park to educate our peers and build support for a bottle deposit as a means to address litter on campus and in the community.
We’ve hosted bi-annual campus cleanups of the Point Branch Stream in College Park to clean up litter. We then sort and count the bottles we collect. Bottle litter makes up the vast majority of litter, and we have collected more than 3,500 bottles and cans to be recycled.
After our first event, it felt good to help clean up campus, but after we held another few cleanups with the same results, we got frustrated. Why should we have to spend so much effort cleaning up bottle litter that could be avoided?
We support the bottle bill because it is proven effective to reduce litter. 150 volunteers have participated in these cleanups from a variety or student groups including Alpha Phi Omega, Phi Sigma Pi, Delta Sigma Theta, ENST Restore, Beta Psi Omega, and UMD Club Fencing.
to cleanups, we have hosted educational film screenings and collected petitions in support of the program. We have collected more than 3,000 petitions from students to legislators, most of which we delivered on Monday, March 2, along with 7,000 petitions collected from our Maryland PIRG Citizen Lobby.
By bringing a bottle deposit program to Maryland we can incentivize recycling, triple our container recycling rate, and drastically reduce litter.
Maryland PIRG Students encourage you to support HB 982.
State Director, Maryland PIRG
Emily directs strategy, organizational development, research, communications and legislative advocacy for Maryland PIRG. Emily has helped win small donor public financing in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County. She has played a key role in establishing new state laws to to protect public health by restricting the use of antibiotics on Maryland farms, require testing for lead in school drinking water and restrict the use of toxic flame retardant and PFAS chemicals. Emily also serves on the Executive Committees of the Maryland Fair Elections Coalition and the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working. Emily lives in Baltimore City with her husband, kids, and dog.