State legislatures across the nation are moving into high gear to beat committee and chamber deadlines before their sessions end. 14 states will finish their legislative sessions in March, and 11 more will adjourn before the end of April.
ISRI is already tracking over 830 bills and regulations that could impact the recycling industry, and over 100 of these directly target plastics.
Why this matters: Bills and regulations targeting plastics can directly change how your business operates. In worst-case scenarios, legislation could even make it impossible for recyclers to stay in business.
Bills regulating plastic and paper bags and other containers and packaging are a growing trend in state legislatures, and are increasingly gathered into general bills impacting all "auxiliary containers." While these were (and still are) predominantly bills seeking to impose bans and/or fees on bags and other containers, such as the California bag ban enacted by referendum in 2017 and pending legislation in New York (SB 7760), New Jersey (AB 3267), and many other states, such bills have failed to gain much traction at the state level. Outside of California, Hawaii is the only other state with an effective statewide ban, as the major counties have all passed bans on plastic bags.
Instead, bills prohibiting local regulations of auxiliary containers, while fewer in number, are actively being considered and passed by many states. Nine states have already preempted local regulations, while others have overturned or placed holds on individual local regulations. This year, bills prohibiting local regulations have already passed their chambers of origin in several states, and Arizona reaffirmed the ban on local taxes and fees for auxiliary containers with the passage of HB 2484.
ISRI's Position on Bans and Fees for Recyclable Paper and Plastic Bags opposes bans and fees on paper and plastic bags that are being manufactured into useful commodity grade materials.
Pyrolysis / Gasification
Wisconsin, Illinois, and Georgia are all considering measures to exempt pyrolysis and gasification facilities from their respective solid waste facility requirements. Generally, these bills would create definitions for a "pyrolysis facility," "gasification facility," "nonrecycled feedstock," and "post use plastics" or polymers, and exempt such from the respective definitions for solid waste facilities and solid waste.
Extended Producer Responsibility
While not as prevalent as in some recent sessions, ISRI is tracking several Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)/product stewardship bills that could impact plastics recyclers. California AB 2921 targets polystyrene food service manufacturers with fees to promote recycling efforts, while Massachusetts HB 447 would create a packaging reduction and recovery fee on all products contained in packaging. New Jersey AB 1208 would have a more direct impact with a minimum 25% recycled content requirement for rigid plastic containers, with exemptions and waivers including for reusable, refillable, or source reduced containers and packaging. The bill also establishes a Plastic Container Recycling Council to study the feasibility of increasing recycled content, expand the types of containers that can be manufactured from recycled material, enhance markets for recycled plastic, study new technologies, and promote the benefits of such.