State Legislative Roundup

Only seven states are still in regular session, but many states automatically carry over legislation from this year into next, and the prefile season is just around the corner. ReMA makes it easy to view the bills and regulations targeting paper as well as other commodities and issues using ISRI's State Resources and Tracking pages.

Extended Producer Responsibility Looming in 2019

Recent media focus on plastics has given new life to bills targeting packaging and printed materials for an extended producer responsibility (EPR) model program. While none of the bills passed this session create an EPR program for packaging, Maine, Washington, and Hawaii have all passed legislation that calls for such legislation to be proposed in future sessions, with Maine LD 1431 being the most direct.

  • ME LD 1431 (enacted) Requires DEP to develop legislation establishing packaging EPR.
  • ME LD 1649 (enacted) Amends the product stewardship program framework laws. Revises program parameters with respect to the establishment of a product collection system, program staffing requirements for producers or stewardship organizations and program costs. Revises requirements for information to be included in a proposed product stewardship plan. Authorizes DEP to initiate changes to an approved product stewardship plan upon a determination that the program has failed to make adequate progress toward achieving program goals.
  • WA SB 5397 (enacted) Originally introduced as a plastics packaging EPR bill, amended to a study bill requiring the Washington Department of Ecology to "evaluate and assess the amount and types of plastic packaging sold into the state as well as the management and disposal of plastic packaging" and report by October 31, 2020. Report includes an evaluation of the costs and saving in existing EPR programs and options to achieve 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging and 20% postconsumer content in packaging by 2025.
  • WA HB 1543 (enacted) Creates recycling development center to provide R&D, marketing, and policy analysis for recyclable materials. Declares an "initial focus on mixed waste paper and plastics" and working with producers on increasing recycling for packaging and other recyclables.
  • Hawaii SB 522 (enacted) Creates a work group to phase out single-use plastic packaging, promote reuse, and find sustainable alternatives for packaging, and suggest legislation prior to the 2021 session.
  • CA AB 1080 (passed assembly) as amended in Senate, directs the Dept. of Resources Recycling and Recovery to adopt regulations by 2024, requiring manufacturers of single-use packaging and priority single-use plastic products in the California market to ensure their products manufactured on or after January 1, 2030, are recyclable or compostable. Establishes a list of priority single-use plastic products. Requires single-use plastic packaging, single-use poly lined paper packaging, and single-use poly lined paperboard packaging and priority single-use plastic products to meet specified recycling rates that are based on date of manufacture and that increase over a prescribed timeframe.

Auxiliary Containers Legislation Gets Traction

Following the same media focus on plastics and New York's passage of AB 2008 with a ban on all non-exempt "plastic carryout bags" and authorization of local $0.05 fees on paper bags, several states have jumped in with their own restrictions on "single-use" bags.

  • ME LD 1532 (enacted) Effective 04/22/20, prohibits retailers from providing a "single-use carry-out out bag" (plastic, paper, or other material, does not include "recycled paper bag" or "reuseable bag") with certain exceptions. Sets a minimum 5 cent fee for a recycled paper bag. Preempts local ordinances.
  • VT SB 113 (enacted) Prohibits stores or food service establishments from providing a single use plastic carryout bag to a customer; requires a minimum 10 cent fee for a recyclable paper carryout bag. Also bans food service establishments from providing single-use plastic straws except by request, and bans single use plastic stirrers and expanded polystyrene food service products.
  • MD HB 1166 (enacted) Authorizes Howard County to impose a 5 cent fee on disposable plastic bags provided to customers at retail checkout.
  • DE HB 130 (enacted) Effective 01/01/21, bans single-use plastic carryout bags; paper bags may be made available for no cost or at any price at the store's discretion. Also sets minimum design specs for reusable bags.
  • OR HB 2509 (enacted) Effective 01/01/2020, bans single-use checkout bags, minimum 5 cent fee for recycled paper checkout bags or reusable fabric or plastic checkout bags. Allows more stringent local restrictions if they use the same definitions.

However, other states continue to pass legislation prohibiting such restrictions at the local level.

  • ND HB 1200 (enacted) Prohibits local regulations, fees, charges, or taxes on auxiliary containers.
  • OK SB 1001 (enacted) Prohibits a local government from restricting, taxing, prohibiting or regulating the use, disposition or sale of auxiliary containers.
If you'd like to find out what changes could impact your company, visit ISRI's State Policy page or contact Danielle Waterfield if you have any questions about the system or legislation impacting your state. ReMA has also added live legislative and regulatory reports to the State Resources and Tracking pages to make keeping up-to-date in your state easier. 

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