Facing questions Tuesday from the Joint Committee on Finance, state Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said Wisconsin’s recycling mandate is no longer necessary.
Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget would eliminate the mandate, allowing municipalities to decide whether or not to continue their recycling programs or scrap them to save money.
The proposal has drawn unified criticism from leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, said during budget briefings that the proposal has stumped many lawmakers.
“There’s a great deal of support for recycling in our state,” Nygren said. “I think a lot of us are having a hard time understanding the governor’s thought process in repealing that mandate.”
Elimination of the 20-year-old recycling mandate, though, would not curtail recycling in Wisconsin, Huebsch said.
“A number of us recycle in ways we never did when we were children,” Huebsch said. “Our children have never known not recycling, so I think there was a transition that was made in our society and a new way of thinking that we need to be better stewards of the resources that were available to us.”
The expansion of recycling, Huebsch added, makes it unnecessary for the state to require community participation.
“Removing the mandate will by no means remove the desire or the practice of recycling in any of our communities, or any of our homes,” Huebsch said. “But what it does do is reflect the finite dollars we have available to us and provide them to the community so they can use them as they wish.”