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Washington State and Indiana progress legislation to implement EPR

Washington State and Indiana progress legislation to implement EPR
by Ellen Thornton at 10:52 in Emerging, Packaging

​EPR legislation have been proposed in both Washington State and Indiana. If the Bills are passed, producers in the states will become responsible for the end-of-life packaging waste created from the products they place on the market.

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Washington State

In Washington State, the Senate Bill 5397 would make producers responsible for the design and management of their packaging in order to ensure minimal social and environmental impacts. Hence, producers must be involved in product design and end-of-life management. As a result, the involvement of producers should incentivise innovations and research into packaging design which minimises environmental impacts, promotes the use of recycled content in plastic packaging, and ensures funding for collection, sorting, reprocessing, and end-of-life management service.

From January 1st, 2022, producers will be prohibited from selling or distributing plastic packaging for use in Washington unless they are participating in a plastic packaging stewardship organisation with a plan approved by the department. Producers are exempt from this requirement if they: generate less than one million dollars in annual revenues; generate less than one ton of plastic packaging supplied to Washington State residents per year; or operates as a single point of retail sale and is not supplied or operated as part of a franchise.

Stewardship organisations must submit a plan which outlines: the plastic packaging categories the program and its producers are responsible for; goals for progressively managing plastic packaging at higher stages in the waste management hierarchy; and a description and timeline of how the organisation will achieve a minimum goal of 80% capture of plastic. Furthermore, producers are required to describe their best management practice to ensure any packaging that isn't captured by the scheme doesn't become litter or contamination in recycling or compost. The stewardship organisation should work with its members and provide incentives to reduce litter, improve reuse and recyclability of packaging through design, material selection and reduction or elimination of toxic substances.

Producers are obligated to pay all administrative and operational costs required to establish and implement such a plastic packaging stewardship program. This includes financing state-wide collection of plastic packaging, covering the costs for services provided by municipal programs including sorting, reprocessing and marketing costs; and retailer take-back and drop-off depots.

From 1st January 2023, only rigid plastic packaging containers containing at least 25% post-consumer recycled plastic packaging material, which are labelled as such, bay be offered for sale or distribution in Washington. Also from 1st January 2023, a producer may only sell, offer for sale, or distribute for use in Washington: plastic film bags for garbage, waste containers, carryout shopping, produce, take-out food, food home delivery, newspaper, dry cleaning, wet umbrella, and air shipping envelopes that are made from at least 25% post-consumer plastic packaging and are labelled as such; and compostable bags. From 1st January 2020, producers may only sell, offer for sale, or distribute for use in Washington, plastic collection bins made from at least 25% post-consumer plastic packaging recycled content.

Indiana

The Indiana Senate Bill No. 619 would require every producer of a product or material that results in waste packaging or waste printed paper to register with the department of environmental management and, either singly or jointly with one or more other producers, to submit to the department for approval a producer recycling program plan under which the producer or group of producers will provide for or finance the recycling of packaging and printed paper. The plan must include description of how packaging and printed paper will be collected from households in a convenient manner, and recycled, and an explanation of how the plan will be financed.

After 30th June 2021, each producer, before selling or offering for sale in Indiana products or material that would result in waste packaging or waste printed paper in Indiana, shall register with the department. By 1st July 2025, producers should have reached a goal of recycling 50% of all household packaging and printed paper; and by 1st July 2028, 60% of all household packaging and printed paper should be recycled. Producers are exempt if they: have gross sales of less than $250,000 per year, however a producer with gross sales in Indiana of at least $250,000 but less than $500,000 is required to pay an annual fee to a producer recycling organisation of no more than $750, but otherwise is still required to comply with these requirements.

Connecticut

An extended producer responsibility program was proposed in Connecticut by the General Assembly to reduce consumer packaging waste; however, this was voted against. Instead, recommendations were put forward for voluntary initiatives, more consumer education, more pay-as-you-throw programs, bottle bill updates and other incentives. Despite support from Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Product Stewardship Institute, the proposal hasn't been able to progress any further.

If you have any questions regarding EPR legislation in the US, please contact us to speak to one of our consultants. If you're interested in reading more articles and blogs like this one, sign up to receive our free monthly digest.​


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