Maine became the first state in the nation to require companies that create consumer packaging to pay for the costs of recycling it when Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill Tuesday establishing an “extended producer responsibility” program.

The legislation on EPR for packaging will charge large packaging producers for collecting and recycling cardboard boxes, plastic containers and other packaging materials, as well as for disposing of nonrecyclable packaging. The income generated will be used to support recycling efforts in local communities that have long relied on taxpayer dollars.

“This new law assures every Maine community that help with recycling and lowering the property tax burden is on the way,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Nicole Grohoski (D-Ellsworth), said in a statement.

Sarah Nichols, director of the Sustainable Maine Program at the Natural Resources Council of Maine, predicted that many other states will soon follow suit. Across the country, 10 states including New York and California have considered similar legislation this year. In Oregon, a bill establishing EPR for packaging awaits the signature of Democratic governor Kate Brown.

“Fossil fuel companies need to take responsibility,” Nichols said, “not just tell people to drive electric cars or turn off the lights.”

Recycling programs have been hit by China’s 2018 decision to ban U.S. materials and, in many Maine communities, by the abrupt closure of a state-of-the-art recycling plant.

Michael Gilmartin, who helped lead an effort to establish a recycling center in coastal Trenton only to see it close under financial pressure a couple of years ago, was optimistic that the new law would bring recycling back.

“It’s wonderful news,” Gilmartin said, as he made plans to discuss reopening Trenton’s recycling site at a selectmen’s meeting Tuesday evening.

Across the causeway on Mount Desert Island, Mark Worcester, owner of the transfer station that takes Trenton’s trash, said he will be ready when recycling starts up again.

“We have all the machinery and signs,” Worcester said.