Paper, Plastics, Packaging EPR Looming for 2020
Recyclers should expect paper and packaging extended producer responsibility (EPR) model programs to be a major issue for 2020 in the West Coast and Northeastern states.
ISRI's interaction with state legislative leaders at the NCSL symposium in September revealed that EPR with a focus on plastics is a top priority for Rhode Island Senate leaders in the 2020 legislative session. Maryland and New Hampshire leaders also expressed similar desires to pursue EPR options as it pertains to plastics and packaging. ISRI is coordinating follow-up with these leaders.
- Maine LD 1431: DEP to develop packaging EPR legislation by December 16, 2019
- Washington SB 5397: Dept. of Ecology to evaluate packaging sold in the state and report by October 31, 2020
- includes evaluation of EPR & recyclable / recycled content requirements. Previous versions directly called for packaging EPR
- Hawaii SB 522: Dept. Health plastic source reduction work group to report prior to the 2021 session.
- California AB 1080 would have required packaging EPR, but instead the legislature passed AB 792 with requirements on beverage container recycled content and reporting on bottle collection and the manufacture of postconsumer recycled plastic.
- In total, 10 states considered 21 bills focused on packaging EPR this year.
Electric Vehicles / Li-Ion Batteries
- California considered, but ultimately did not pass, AB 1509, an EPR program for Li-ion batteries
- Maryland included funding to develop a plan for a Li-ion battery recycling program in this year's budget bill (Maryland HB 100)
- Massachusetts HB 808 also proposes an advisory group to recommend policies to the legislature, similar to what California passed in 2018.
Bag / Auxiliary Container Restrictions
States continue to pass restrictions on “single-use” bags, with Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, and Oregon all jumping in after New York became the first state since California to pass a plastic bag ban. This trend is likely to continue into 2020, but will run up against a wall of states that have already passed laws preempting local actions to tax, restrict, or otherwise regulate any auxiliary container, a catch-all term covering bags, cups, and other containers used for transporting food or merchandise from a business.
While there was less legislation seeking amendments to state metals theft laws than previous years and a greater focus on tweaks vs large-scale rewrites, metals theft legislation will continue to be an issue for recyclers:
- Arkansas SB 365: eliminates the requirement that the operator of the reporting database report a list of all scrap recyclers in a county that have not filed a daily electronic record of scrap metal purchases.
- California SB 143: adds general use prepaid cards to the forms of payment for nonferrous.
- Kansas HB 2248: Various changes to recordkeeping, reporting, and registration provisions, effective 07/01/20. Establishes 07/01/23 as a sunset date for the Act.
- Indiana SB 471: penalties for damaging a "critical infrastructure facility"; includes changes to the penalties for theft of valuable metal.
- South Dakota HB 1082: $100 cash payment threshold for nonferrous metal property.
- Texas HB 1545: changes references from "beer" to "malt beverage" in various laws, including the definitions for "aluminum material" and "regulated metal" in the metals theft law.
- Texas HB 4584: amends plastic bulk merchandise container requirements to refer to "returnable containers".
- Texas SB 616: various changes to registration, penalties, and other administrative functions for the metals theft law.
Momentum to ban or otherwise restrict artificial turf at the state level seems to be slowing. Only six bills were introduced in three states this year (CT, MD, NY). The only one to receive any significant traction was Connecticut HB 7003, which set a moratorium until the EPA study on the health effects of exposure to crumb rubber used in artificial turf fields is released. The bill passed its initial committee but was held afterwards in the House.
ISRI members need to be involved with their policymakers on the federal, state, and local levels to ensure the industry can continue to operate without excessive statutory and regulatory burdens.
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. ISRI has also added live legislative and regulatory reports to the State Resources and Tracking pages.