Multiple states and jurisdictions rung in 2024 by updating their waste, recycling and organics laws, aiming to divert more material from disposal.
New organics recycling mandates, packaging laws and changes to bottle bills that add new containers and increase deposit values are now on the books.
What new laws are impacting your area this year? Let us know at email@example.com.
Bottle deposits increased from 5 to 10 cents in Connecticut
Connecticut doubled the deposit value on Jan. 1 as part of an ongoing process of modernizing the state’s container deposit law. Retailers and distributors will still be able to sell inventory that has a 5-cent deposit label if it was in their inventory prior to the change. Dealers and distributors must begin educating consumers about the increased deposit. Also new for January is a rule that no more than 240 containers can be returned to a reverse vending machine at one time.
These changes are part of SB 895, which lawmakers passed in 2021. It expanded the bottle bill to include more types of containers — noncarbonated beverages and hard ciders were added in 2023 — and increased the handling fee to help cover overhead costs at redemption centers, among other updates.
California added juice, wine and distilled spirits containers to its bottle bill
Californians can now redeem most 100% juice containers, plus wine and distilled spirits bottles, as part of the deposit return program. There’s also a new 25-cent refund on “difficult to recycle” wine packaging including boxes, bladders, pouches and similar plastic containers.
Most wine and spirits bottles will have a 10-cent redemption value. In general, containers in the CRV program have a 5-cent refund value for containers under 24 ounces and 10 cents for larger containers over 24 ounces.
The juice update was part of SB 353, passed in 2023 in an effort to help raise deposit return rates. That law also updated the payment formula that funds recycling centers, a move meant to prevent more recycling centers from closing, particularly when scrap prices are especially volatile. The wine and spirits update was part of SB 1013, passed in 2022, which also expanded convenience zones and introduced new market development initiatives and grant programs aimed at collecting more containers.
Some Washington businesses must now arrange for organics management
Businesses in Washington state with at least eight cubic yards of weekly organic waste will now be required to arrange for collection services or manage it on site. Those who generate smaller amounts will face the same requirement in 2025 and 2026. It’s part of a broader state goal to reduce organic waste disposal 75% by 2030 and increase the volume of edible food recovery 20% by 2025.
These business requirements were set in 2022 when lawmakers approved HB 1799, which is considered one of the most comprehensive state policies for organics management in the U.S. Other parts of the law call for local governments to set compost procurement requirements, allow for siting of organics processing facilities and update food donation standards. Most local governments will be required by 2027 to offer source-separated organics collection service.
Los Angeles will begin issuing penalties for lack of commercial organics recycling services
LA Sanitation and Environment will begin enforcing its commercial organics ordinance, meaning commercial and multifamily properties that don’t have organics recycling services could face penalties. At the same time, Los Angeles and most other cities in California are required to have an organics recycling ordinance under SB 1383, and CalRecycle is helping to bring LA into compliance for not yet having a full-scale program of its own.
Other new laws of note
- Recycled content in New Jersey: Minimum recycled content requirements for certain plastic, glass and paper packaging will go into effect Jan. 18 as part of the state’s post-consumer recycled content law. Polystyrene packing peanuts will also be banned.
- Reuse/refill in Illinois: Illinois will now allow restaurants and some retailers to fill or refill consumer-owned containers with ready-made or bulk food, an effort to cut down on single-use containers.
- Bag and packaging bans in Colorado, Maryland and Rhode Island: Colorado has banned EPS foam takeout containers at most restaurants and schools for ready-to-eat foods. Plastic carryout bags are also banned at places like large chain grocery stores, convenience stores and retail food establishments. Rhode Island has also enacted its own single-use plastic bag ban, along with several counties in Maryland and the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- PFAS in packaging banned in multiple states: Minnesota, Colorado, Rhode Island and Maryland are among the states that banned intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in food packaging as of Jan. 1. Minnesota’s rule, considered one of the most strict, has no exceptions and no minimum limit for amounts detected, the Star Tribune reported.