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  • Press Release

ISRI Testimony Supports New Jersey Legislation Intended to Encourage Increased Use of Recycled Content in Plastics Products

(Washington, DC) – Serving as the Voice of the Recycling Industry, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) today testified before the New Jersey Senate Environment and Energy Committee in support of proposed legislation that expands the use of recycled plastics.

SunilBagariaNJTestimonyISRI Plastics Division Chair Sunil Bagaria offered support of the intent of the bill, as it is imperative that all plastics be handled responsibly at end of life, and using recycled plastic as a feedstock to manufacture new products is an environmentally responsible activity that also strengthens the economy by creating jobs and investment opportunities. However, Bagaria expressed concern with certain aspects of the proposed legislation, requesting clarification of certain draft amendments that were circulated prior to the hearing. 

Excerpts from the testimony as submitted (full written testimony available here):

… This testimony is in response to S2515, establishing recycled content requirements for plastic containers, glass containers, paper carryout bags, reusable plastic carryout bags, and plastic trash bags, and prohibiting the sale of polystyrene loose fill packaging. ISRI supports legislation that expands the use of recycled plastics, and fully supports the intent behind S2515. It is imperative that all plastics be handled responsibly at end of life, and using recycled plastic as a feedstock to manufacture new products is an environmentally responsible activity that also strengthens the economy by creating jobs and investment opportunities.

However, there are some aspects of the proposed legislation, and the draft amendments that were circulated prior to this hearing, that present some concern for which I ask the sponsor and this committee to consider in order to ensure that the legislation's intent is fully realized.

  • Manufacturer Exemption: In the draft amendments, an exemption is added to the definition of "manufacturer" for an establishment that produces, packages, and sells a product directly to a consumer at retail. …
  • Reusable Plastic Film Carryout Bags: Unlike other products, there is no set definition for a reusable plastic film carryout bag, and no threshold set for the thickness of a bag subject to the requirements.
  • Rigid Plastic Containers: Since rigid plastic containers are utilized in many different ways, including nonfood applications, they could easily have the same recycled content requirements as beverage containers. …
  • Plastic Trash Bags: The current 10 percent recycled content requirement could be raised because the product can easily incorporate more recycled content while maintaining the structural integrity of the product.
  • Manufacturer Waivers: In Section 8.a., the draft amendment refers to "other anomalous market conditions." …

… If the points outlined above are addressed, I am confident that S2515 will help spur the demand for recycled plastics, keep and increase jobs, wages and overall economic impact in New Jersey …

… I commend Chairman Smith and the Senate Environment and Energy Committee for taking a bold stance on the necessity to increase the use of recycled plastics, paper, and glass over virgin materials, and hope that the passage of S2515 will help lead to a more sustainable, environmentally responsible future. …

*Photo attached featuring Sunil Bagaria and NJ Senate Environment & Energy Committee Chairman Bob Smith.

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The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the "Voice of the Recycling Industry™." ISRI represents 1,300 companies in 20 chapters in the U.S. and more than 40 countries that process, broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, the Institute provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development. Generating nearly $110 billion annually in U.S. economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides more than 500,000 Americans with good jobs.

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