New York Gov. Kathy Hochul renewed her support for a law establishing extended producer responsibility for packaging in the annual State of the State report released Tuesday.
Hochul announced she will introduce the Waste Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act, “which transfers the onus of recycling to the producer — not the taxpayers.”
Details of the bill do not appear to have been released yet, but the report says the proposed EPR program would reduce waste in landfills by making brands responsible for end-of-life packaging. The program aims to incentivize producers to create packaging that has more recycled content, is more recyclable or is reusable, it said.
The EPR bill also aims to “put New York on the path to achieve our ambitious climate goals” while saving local governments money and creating jobs, the report said. It calls for the state to develop a new recycling strategy that will “require we meet specific recycling rates, create binding post-consumer recycled content rates, and ensure recycling is convenient for consumers.”
It’s not the first time Hochul has called out EPR for packaging as an important priority for the state. Last year, she named EPR as a priority in her 2022 State of State address and included an EPR provision in her proposed FY 2023 executive budget. That provision did not make it to the final New York state budget released in April. Hochul used language from an EPR bill by then-state Sen. Todd Kaminsky as a base for her proposal.
Hochul, along with the state Senate and Assembly, are expected to release their own versions of the FY 2024 budget in the coming weeks, which could contain more details of this year’s proposed EPR for packaging program.
Hochul signed into law an EPR for carpet bill in December, making New York the second state after California to establish a program making producers responsible for managing carpet. The law also sets mandatory recycling and recycled content metrics.
The state could also pursue EPR for packaging through the legislative process in 2023. In 2022, New York legislators mulled a bill from Kaminsky and a competing one from Assembly member Steve Englebright. Neither bill passed. Kaminsky has since retired, and Englebright lost his reelection campaign, which could impact the future of similar bills.
Numerous New York organizations involved in EPR for packaging advocacy last year agreed the state needed a strong EPR program, but they disagreed over whether it should be included in the budget and what language would best serve the state’s needs.
The New York League of Conservation Voters is one of the organizations calling for EPR for packaging to remain a major legislative priority in 2023. “We urge the NY State Senate and Assembly to reach a consensus on a strong bill for Gov. Hochul to sign,” the organization said in a statement.
California, Colorado, Maine and Oregon are the four states that have passed EPR for packaging laws to date.