As state legislators start preparing for 2019, recyclers need to be on the watch for pre-file legislation and the return of troublesome measures from the current session. Bills in Virginia and New Jersey will carry over, but all other states will be starting fresh. Twenty-one states will have begun pre-filing by the end of November, with 45 states starting their 2019 sessions in January.
State legislators and regulators can change how the recycling industry operators with the stroke of a pen. Use the plastics tracking report and other commodity, issue, and state information on ISRI's State Resources and Tracking page to keep up with the latest proposals and ensure the future of your business.
Texas Proposes Incentives for Recycled Feedstock
Among the 2019 pre-files is Texas HB 286, which could impact a large swath of recyclable materials (and recyclers). The bill's stated goal is to stimulate the use of recyclable materials as feedstock in manufacturing by providing incentive payments to manufacturers, with plastic being specifically mentioned as one of the materials the plan must study. However, there are some concerns over the implied recycling rate reporting and other information gathering requirements in the bill, as recyclers in other states have run into issues with information confidentiality and rate reporting related to whether the private non-profit recycling industry is treated as distinct from solid waste and publically run facilities.
Possible Movement towards Major Plastics Legislation
If adverse news coverage concerning ocean plastics, straws, bags, and other products continues in 2019, recyclers will likely see a growing movement in state legislatures to restrict certain plastics and packaging. Judging from Governor Murphy's August veto of AB 3267, New Jersey will likely be pursing major legislation on plastic products in 2019. The veto called for "a more robust and comprehensive method of reducing the number of single-use bags in our State" and several resolutions have been introduced since calling for the federal government to hold manufacturers responsible for plastic products and provide funding and other resources for plastic pollution. Rhode Island Executive Order 18-06 created the Task Force to Tackle Plastics, and several states have introduced bills targeting plastic products and packaging with bans and fees.
These issues may open the door to extended producer responsibility (EPR)/product stewardship legislation, which could distort existing markets and place control over recyclables in the hands of manufacturers. ISRI opposes government imposed fees and mandates
on products that are being manufactured into commodity grade materials, but allows in certain instances to hold producers financially responsible for certain products. ISRI supports ending producer responsibility and government imposed fees as soon as practicable.