ISRI is currently tracking almost 900 bills and regulations impacting the recycling industry, and over 70 of these directly target paper-related issues.
Extended Producer Responsibility
Bucking the trend of previous years, 2018 has been relatively quiet for extended producer responsibility/product stewardship legislation. These bills generally seek to place the responsibility for - and control of - the recycling of certain products on the manufacturer. While California and Massachusetts both introduced several measures targeting paper and packaging, none have gained traction.
However, 2019 will see a new crop of legislation, and paper and packaging has been one of the prime targets of groups seeking to push EPR models onto materials with existing recycling infrastructures. While ISRI's Position on Producer Responsibility allows in certain instances to hold producers financially responsible for certain products, it opposes government mandates to recycle plastics and other products that are already being manufactured into commodity grade materials and sold into viable, commercial markets.
ISRI's Position on Bans and Fees for Recyclable Paper and Plastic Bags
Bills seeking to regulate paper and plastic bags and other containers and packaging have failed to gain traction this year, while bills prohibiting local regulations of these "auxiliary containers" continue to be passed. This year, Arizona strengthened its existing prohibitions with the passage of Arizona HB 2484, prohibiting taxes or fees on any container or packaging used to transport, protect, or consume food or beverage, and Mississippi SB 2570 preempted any regulation, prohibition, restriction, fee, tax, or charge on auxiliary containers. Minnesota continues to try to strengthen its merchant bags law with a similar ban on taxes or fees; an earlier attempt connected to an omnibus tax bill this year was vetoed by the governor.
opposes bans and fees on paper and plastic bags that are being manufactured into useful commodity grade materials.