June 18, 2024

Packaging Policy Roundup

Packaging Policy Roundup

The packaging policy across the country is shifting, as states adopt legislation spanning data reporting to label design. From Maine to California—and all the states in between—there’s a lot to keep track of in the world of packaging policy.

Whether you’re an engineer, a designer, or just a fan of sustainable packaging, SPC’s Senior Project Manager and Policy Collaborative Lead Lucy Pierce is breaking down noteworthy policy updates every month.

June Packaging Policy Roundup

 

1. A Potential Change to California’s EPR Legislation

What will this law do?

Introduced by Senator Allen, this bill would amend Allen’s previously passed EPR legislation SB 54, or the Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act. The bill would give producers 6 more months to be compliant under the act and permit producers to demonstrate the recyclability and compostability of their materials to CalRecycle

What’s the status of this legislation?

It was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

What would this policy look like in action? 

Under SB 54, covered materials are required to be recyclable or compostable by 2032. CalRecycle is authorized to identify materials trending towards the recyclable or compostable requirements, as long as they meet certain criteria. This SB 1231 amendment states that producers would be authorized to petition CalRecycle “to identify material types and forms” that meet designated recyclable criteria and CalRecycle reviews the petitions and data as well as approve or deny the petition. Additionally, the date of compliance is pushed from 18 to 24 months “after the date the department publishes or updates the specified material characterization study.” 

Where can I learn more about this law?

If you’re interested in learning more about the bill, you can check out this Resource Recycling update or read the full bill text

 

2. Oregon’s EPR Rulemaking Public Comment Period Extended to July 26 

What is this comment period?

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)—Oregon’s environmental regulatory agency overseeing the implementation of EPR—is seeking public comment on the rulemaking and implementation of EPR in the state. 

What’s the status of this comment period?

The comment period closes on July 26, 2024. 

What’s included in this comment period?

The EPR legislation itself requires producers of packaging, paper, and food serviceware to help fund and expand recycling in the state. In this round of rulemaking, DEQ is seeking public comment on topics like: covered product exemptions; environmental impact evaluation standards; recycling facility permits, standards, and fees; living wages and supportive benefits for facility workers; waste prevention and reuse; and more. 

Where can I learn more about this comment period?

If you’re interested in learning more about the comment period and the draft rules, you can check out the DEQ’s 2024 rulemaking website

 

3. New York’s EPR Bill Failed 

What happened with this legislation?

After a second failed attempt, the New York Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) bill, “Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act” or SB 4246B, did not pass the assembly before the legislature adjourned for the summer. 

What’s the status of this bill?

This bill is dead for now, but could come back later in 2024 or next year. 

What would this policy look like in action? 

If passed, this bill would enact EPR in New York, making it the sixth state in the country to pass such legislation. Like most EPR legislation, it would set plastic reduction targets, rolled out recycled content requirements, and established a producer responsibility organization to help fund state recycling programs. It also would have banned certain chemicals in packaging materials. 

Where can I learn more about this bill?

If you’re interested in learning more about the legislation, you can check out Packaging Dive’s recap from after it failed. 

 

4. California, Colorado, Oregon EPR Deadline 

Reminder 

July 1 marks the deadline for producers to  register with Circular Action Alliance (CAA), the Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) for California, Colorado, and Oregon. Producers that knowingly qualify for an exemption and producers that intend to submit an individual compliance plan are exempt from the deadline. 

Learn More

To learn more about registration, tips, and producer definitions, you can visit CAA’s website on producer sign up

 

May Packaging Policy Roundup

1. Minnesota’s EPR Bill

What will this law do?

Minnesota’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation requires producers to pay half of the state’s recycling costs by 2029, increasing their share to 90% by 2031.

What’s the status of this legislation?

Gov. Tim Walz signed the legislation, the Packaging Waste and Cost Reduction Act, into law on May 22, 2024. The Act was a part of a larger environmental budget and policy bill. Minnesota is the fifth state to pass EPR legislation.

What would these policies look like in action?

The shared responsibility model, which requires producers to pay half of recycling cost by 2029 and 90% by 2031, is similar to the Oregon EPR legislation in that producers alone will not fund the system.

The final law requires that Producers register with the PRO by July 1, 2026. From there, the initial needs assessment is due at the end of 2026 and the PRO’s stewardship plan is set for October, 2028.

Notably, the final draft doesn’t set performance targets. Instead, it calls for a future needs assessment before setting recycling, composting, waste reduction, reuse and return rates, and post consumer recycled content targets.

Where can I learn more about this law?

For more information on Minnesota’s EPR bill, timeline, and final text, you can check out this Waste Dive article.

 

2: New York’s Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act

What would these bills do?

These two companion bills (AB 5322 and SB 4246) would introduce Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging materials in New York. They would also advance various reduction, recycling and recycled content targets.

What’s the status of these bills?

These bills are in Committee Assembly and Senate Finance Committee, respectively.

What would these policies look like in action?

These bills use Packaging Reduction and Recycling Organization (PRRO) as opposed to the traditional term Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO). The PRRO, a registered 501(c)(3), works under contract with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The PRRO collects producer fees, assists producers with compliance, implements the program, and essentially functions as the PRO, but is not technically referred to as a Producer Responsibility Organization. This means that producers would still need to register with the PRRO like they do in the other 4 states that have passed EPR laws (California, Colorado, Maine, and Oregon).

Where can I learn more about these bills?

For more information on New York’s Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act, you can check out this Resource Recycling article.

 

3: New Jersey Senate Bill 208

What would this bill do?

This bill—first introduced in 2022 and reintroduced in 2024—would require producers of packaging materials to operate packaging stewardship plans individually, or as a group of producers (a PRO). It also requires producers to include in their plans goals for:

  • Minimum post-consumer recycled material content rates
  • And minimum recycling rates for packaging products

What’s the status of this bill?

The bill was heard in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee hearing on May 13th.

What would this policy look like in action?

If passed, producers would need to comply within 18 months after the bill’s effective date.

Producers would be prohibited from selling, offering for sale, importing, or distributing any packaging product in New Jersey unless they’ve engaged in the implementation of, or they’ve fully implemented, a packaging product stewardship plan that aligns with the bill.

Where can I learn more about this bill?

To get a deeper understanding of this bill, you can check out our EPR tool or read the bill online here.

 

4: Colorado’s Producer Responsibility Program For Recycling

What would this bill do?

This bill (Colorado’s HB 1355) will create a state-wide producer responsibility program to provide recycling services for all residents, public places, small businesses, schools, hospitality locations, and state and local government buildings.

It also advances a needs assessment and requires the PRO to submit a program plan by February 1, 2025.

What’s the status of this bill?

It’s been passed and is currently being implemented.

What would this policy look like in action?

Implementation of this bill involves advisory board meetings with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), the public, the Circular Action Alliance (CAA, which acts as the Producer Responsibility Organization), and the advisory council.

Recent meetings have covered plans to increase targets and producer compliance while also analyzing reimbursement rate models from Canadian provinces. The advisory board is engaging in ongoing discussions and iterative feedback processes, while CAA (the PRO) develops the program plan in Colorado.

Feedback from the public is welcomed and every meeting has time for public comment.

Where can I learn more about this bill?

You can check out all of CDPHE’s meeting recordings, slides, and registration links on their website.

 

5: California, Colorado, Oregon EPR Deadline

Reminder

July 1 marks the deadline for producers to register with Circular Action Alliance (CAA), the Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) for California, Colorado, and Oregon. Producers that knowingly qualify for an exemption and producers that intend to submit an individual compliance plan are exempt from the deadline.

Learn More

To learn more about registration, tips, and producer definitions, you can visit CAA’s website on producer sign up.