Follow recent bills about organics recycling, EPR, recycled content, container deposit systems and product bans.
Published November 16, 2022
Updated September 1, 2023
Sept. 1: The most recent update in this tracker is Delaware’s governor signing a foam food container ban into law. That law will go into effect in July 2025.
State legislatures have kicked into high gear in recent years to introduce and pass numerous bills aimed at improving recycling, reducing plastic waste, promoting circular economy initiatives and more.
To date, states have been more nimble than Congress in enacting legislation, and this could change the way communities — and eventually the country — manage waste and recycling. Some of the most notable state-level actions in 2022 included new laws around extended producer responsibility, postconsumer recycled content, plastic item bans, organics and container deposit systems. Multiple states are working to pass similar bills in 2023.
Bills are listed below based on the date they were signed into law or the latest voting action. This list may expand in the future to cover additional types of bills. Have an update on a bill? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Delaware Gov. John Carney signed a bill that bans most food establishments from providing customers with ready-to-eat food or beverages in polystyrene foam containers. It also bans the establishments from offering plastic straws unless customers request them, and further bans single-service plastic coffee stirrers, cocktail picks, or sandwich picks. The restrictions will take effect on July 1, 2025.
Some healthcare providers, nonprofit organizations and religious institutions will be exempt from the foam food container ban. The bill also excludes EPS coolers or ice chests used for shipping of seafood or storing raw meat, fruits or other types of raw food items.
The plastic straw ban would not apply to people in hospitals or long-term care facilities and wouldn’t apply to straws already attached to prepackaged goods like juice boxes, according to the bill.
Bill sponsor Sen. Trey Paradee told Delaware Public Media that the bill is the next logical step to move away from single-use plastics. The state already bans single-use plastic bags.
Bill opponents included Senate Minority Leader Brian Pettyjohn, who says the Delaware Solid Waste Authority should accept PS packaging for recycling instead of banning it, he told DPM.
July 28, 2023
Illinois governor approves EPR program for paint
Illinois is now the 11th state with an extended producer responsibility program for paint.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed SB 836 to create the EPR program, which will be managed by the paint industry and start in 2025. It calls for ensuring that 90% of state residents have a convenient collection site, service or event within a 15-mile radius, which bill sponsor Sen. Linda Holmes said will include “hundreds” of dropoff locations to manage about 1 million gallons of paint each year. The bill also calls for public education to reduce paint waste and encourages residents and recyclers to find ways to reuse paint.
Funding to run the program will be included in the cost of new paint, according to the Product Stewardship Institute, which supported the bill and has worked on model paint EPR legislation in other states.
The program will be managed by PaintCare, a nonprofit organization created by the paint industry through the American Coatings Association, PSI said. Other states with similar EPR laws for paint are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Maine, New York, Washington, and Vermont. The District of Columbia also has a paint EPR program.
The Illinois Product Stewardship Council sees the law as a way to add more circular economy initiatives in the state, offer easier recycling options and provide jobs for recyclers. The bill received broad support from other groups including local solid waste boards, environmental groups and municipalities.
HB 6486 makes manufacturers responsible for recycling old tires. The law is meant to help add needed oversight to the state’s tire recycling systems and curb illegal dumping.
Tire producers will need to join a stewardship organization by Jan. 1, 2025. The PRO will need to create, manage and promote a statewide collection system, including public drop-off sites that are free to the public. Producers will be the sole funders of the program.
The law also calls for the state to research the “efficacy and suitability” of a program to use tire-derived asphalt on roads throughout the state. A report, issued on Jan. 1, 2025, would offer paving recommendations and estimate the volume of tires needed to meet those recommendations.
July 27, 2023
Maine updates bottle bill funding, sorting requirements
Maine has approved a law updating its bottle bill to rework funding for the program, ease sorting requirements for redemption centers and promote reuse strategies.
The bill ends a requirement for redemption centers to sort containers by brand, instead allowing employees to sort by material type like plastic, glass, steel and aluminum starting in 2025. It’s a move supporters say saves time and will be easier on redemption center employees. A new “commingling cooperative” of brand owners will collectively organize container collection as well as share cost and collection data with each other.
The law also reworks how unclaimed deposits are distributed. The newly created cooperative will be required to make an annual payment of $1 million to a special Cost and Carbon Efficient Technology Fund meant to pay for sorting technology and other improvements.
The law also promotes use of reusable and refillable containers. It calls for programs such as developing washing facilities or doing outreach and education around benefits of refillable containers.
The law also calls for a third-party study to determine if it’s feasible for 5% and 10% of beverage containers marketed in the state as reusable or refillable. The study, due by July 15, 2026, would also detail what types of investments or infrastructure could help achieve that goal.
This law follows another emergency law passed in May that raised the handling fee to help redemption centers that were in danger of closing due to lower income and rising costs.
July 14, 2023
Oregon expands its electronics EPR program
The law, signed by Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek in July, refreshes Oregon’s 14-year-old E-Cycles Program by adding more covered devices and updating requirements for collection site locations. The update is meant to stabilize collection infrastructure and make collection programs more accessible.
Items that will be newly accepted in the extended producer responsibility program starting in 2026 include scanners, DVD players, VCRs, music players, game consoles, digital converter boxes, cable receivers, routers, modems and small servers. The program already accepts computers, monitors, TVs, printers, keyboards and mice.
The law will also allow for multiple producer responsibility organizations, and PROs will be required to sign contracts with operators of MRFs, landfills or transfer stations that want to become a collection site for the program. Cities and counties must offer a minimum number of sites based on population and ensure services are accessible to rural areas along with lower-income areas.
The bill received broad support, including from the Oregon Refuse and Recycling Association and Republic Services, WM and Recology. Haulers applauded the bill for allowing permitted solid waste collection sites to opt in to the program and requiring advance public notice when a specific collection site closes.
Vermont governor vetoes bottle bill update that would have established a PRO and added more types of containers
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott vetoed a bill that would have expanded the state’s container deposit system.
HB 158 would have updated Vermont’s container deposit law to include more types of beverages and restructured the overall bottle bill system to require beverage manufacturers to participate in a producer responsibility organization.
The bill had passed both the House and Senate. Scott said he supported recycling, but explained in a veto letter that the bottle deposit system was “labor intensive” and that updates would “move us backwards, and we should instead focus on investing in and improving zero-sort (or blue bin) recycling.”
Industry groups like the National Waste & Recycling Association applauded the veto.
If the bill had passed, new beverages would have been added to the deposit law, including bottled water, sports drinks, wine and liquor. Wine bottles, along with liquor bottles over 50ml, would have had a 15-cent deposit. Other types of containers would have had a 5-cent deposit value, the same as other containers in the program.
The bill did not cover milk, dairy products, infant formula, meal replacement drinks or nonalcoholic cider.
The bill would have also required all manufacturers and distributors of covered beverages to participate in a newly formed PRO, which would have been responsible for managing the bottle bill system and submitting stewardship plans with details on offering convenient collection points, reducing sortation burdens at redemption centers, offering consumer education and other details.
The bill also laid out a statewide minimum beverage container redemption rate goal of 75% by July 1, 2026, and would update that goal incrementally every few years until it reaches 90% by July 1, 2040.
The state currently collects 100% of unclaimed beverage container deposits known as escheats, but the bill proposed changing that model in 2026 to allow the state to collect the first $3 million. The PRO would collect the remainder. The state would collect the first $4 million starting in 2027 and return to collecting the full amount by 2031. By that time, Vermont would have been required to contribute at least $4 million to the state’s Clean Water Fund and additional amounts collected were meant to go to the Waste Management Assistance Fund.
Connecticut law updates waste, recycling and organics programs
A major waste and recycling bill backed by Gov. Ned Lamont is now law. HB 6664 expands state organics separation programs and sets mandatory rates for recycled content for certain plastic beverage containers. It also calls for restructuring major state solid waste management services and giving the state more authority to manage the board of the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority.
The law now requires institutions like hospitality and entertainment businesses and rehab, healthcare and correctional institutions with at least 26 tons per year of organic waste, to compost the material at a state-authorized facility.
It also allows the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to make recommendations for possibly creating a quasi-public state agency to develop new solid waste infrastructure in the state. A request-for-information period would explore new systems for processing waste within the state and up to $500 million in bonding could eventually come from the Connecticut Green Bank, a quasi-public agency meant to fund renewable energy projects.
Lamont, along with DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes, first introduced the sweeping bill in January as a vehicle to maximize waste diversion in the wake of last year’s closure of a major WTE facility owned by MIRA. But the contentious bill underwent numerous changes throughout the year due to clashes between lawmakers. Significant proposals – like an EPR for packaging provision – were deleted from the final bill.
Maryland Gov. Moore signs EPR for packaging study bill
Maryland’s new EPR for packaging law, SB 222, doesn’t officially establish an EPR program. Instead, it calls for a detailed statewide needs assessment to determine how recycling and waste systems are currently operating before the state can create the program. Gov. Moore signed the law on May 8, 2023.
The law requires a third party to complete the needs assessment by July 30, 2024. It also calls for creating an advisory council that will provide recommendations on a proposed EPR plan to the governor by Dec. 1, 2024. The Maryland Department of the Environment must also approve a single producer responsibility organization by Oct. 1, 2023.
The needs assessment must include details of state waste and recycling infrastructure and capacity, as well as key costs and revenues. It must also determine disposal and recycling methods by material type and amount, as well as estimate how many materials are currently not being recycled and numerous other metrics.
The advisory council will have up to 21 members including haulers, processors and composters from both the public and private sectors, and representatives from local government agencies, PROs and the consumer goods sector.
The bill originally spelled out details of an EPR program, but it underwent numerous major amendments to make it a study instead. Supporters of the change, including recycling groups and other policy stakeholders, said it’s important to have a clear picture of the state’s recycling and waste management systems before trying to write detailed EPR rules.
The bill prohibits food vendors from offering polystyrene foam containers or serving food in the containers starting Jan. 1, 2025. It also prohibits the sale or distribution of PS foam containers, PS foam packaging peanuts or other foodware containers containing intentionally added PFAS by that date. Gov. Tina Kotek signed the bill into law on May 8, 2023.
Food vendors that don’t comply would face penalties of up to $100 per day. The fine goes up to $500 a day for those that sell or distribute the prohibited containers into the state, according to the bill.
The bill garneredsupport from a coalition of about 25 environmental and recycling groups including the Association of Oregon Recyclers, Environment Oregon and the Oregon Environmental Council. The groups say plastic reduction strategies are effective in reducing pollution.
A group of plastics industry and packaging organizations including the American Chemistry Council, Ameripen and Plastics, opposed the bill. Ina joint letter, the groups said the bill gives the state Environmental Quality Commission too much power to “ban any type of plastic packaging it deems ‘unnecessary.’” The Foodservice Packaging Institute also opposed the bill.
Maine governor signs emergency law to raise bottle bill handling fees
Redemption centers in Maine now receive an extra cent for each container they handle under LD 134. Gov. Janet Mills signed the emergency legislation into law on May 5.
Effective May 1, the handling fee is now 5.5 cents, up a penny from when the fee was last increased in 2020, according to the bill. The handling fee will again increase to 6 cents per container on Sept. 1.
Redemption centers are a key part of Maine’s bottle bill, but numerous closures over the last few years prompted the state legislature to quickly pass the bill to prevent further damage. There are about 321 redemption centers in the state and more than 50 have closed since 2020, Maine Public reported. Some redemption center operators applauded the law, saying they have few ways to raise their income as costs rise and the law would help prevent future closures.
Beverage brands like BlueTriton, which owns Poland Spring, as well as some distributors, said Maine already has one of the highest handling fees in the country compared with places like Iowa and Oregon. They felt that raising the fee wouldn’t do much to stabilize the bottle bill in the long run and would add costs to their businesses and to consumers, preferring the fee increase to be paired with broader system reforms. TOMRA, a reverse vending machine manufacturer, said any changes to the state’s bottle bill must come with “checks and balances.”
Washington bill targeting single-use plastics heads to governor
Washington’s HB 1085 aims to reduce plastic pollution by restricting single-use water bottles, health and beauty product containers, and foam structures for overwater docks. The bill awaits Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature.
The bill also requires that new buildings with drinking fountains include bottle filling stations, a provision meant to reduce single-use plastic water bottle use.
The bill also calls for hotels and other “lodging establishments” to stop offering health and beauty products that come in small plastic containers, plastic wrappers or other single-use plastic packaging unless guests specifically request them. The establishments could still use refillable plastic dispensers or single-use containers not made from plastic.
The water bottle filling station portion of the bill would take effect July 1, 2026. Establishments with 50 or more units would need to stop offering plastic toiletries on Jan. 1, 2027, and smaller establishments would follow suit starting Jan. 1, 2028. The foam dock portion would take effect Jan. 1, 2024.
The billwould phase out single-use polystyrene foam foodware in Illinois. If passed, this bill will follow several other states and localities that have also banned the material in recent years.
The bill, which passed the House on March 21, would prohibit most retail establishments from selling disposable foam food containers on January 1, 2024. On Jan. 1, 2025, that ban would also apply to food pantries, soup kitchens, not-for-profits, government agencies that offer food for “needy individuals” and restaurants with an annual gross income under $500,000 per location.
The Ocean Conservancy applauded the bill, saying that EPS foam is a common pollutant in waterways, and that the material cannot be effectively recycled in the state. “The simplest solution for the health of our recycling system and our waterways is to do away with the material entirely,” said Anja Brandon, associate director of U.S. plastics policy, in a news release.
Plastics and packaging organizations have opposed the bill, including the American Chemistry Council. ACC typically opposes polystyrene bans, including Washington’s recent ban, because the group says it limits consumer choice and reduces states’ ability to build up infrastructure for recycling the material. The Foodservice Packaging Institute, Amsty and Pactiv Evergreen also oppose the bill.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to be heard in the Assignments committee.
March 7, 2023
Washington governor signs battery EPR bill
The bill, meant to reducefire danger at waste facilities and increase recycling rates, requires battery producers to fund and participate in an EPR program. It also would establish labeling requirements for batteries sold in the state. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill on May 11, 2023.
The bill also calls for a public education component. “It’s urgent we take action to ensure these products containing hazardous materials don’t continue to pile up in our landfills or other places they can cause health and safety concerns,” said state Sen. Derek Stanford, the bill’s sponsor, in anews release.
The bill requires producers selling portable batteries or battery-containing products to participate in the stewardship organization starting January 1, 2027, for portable batteries and January 1, 2029, for medium-sized batteries.
Stanford also sees the bill as a way to encourage producers to create better-designed batteries that are easier to recycle and last longer, he said in anews release.
Most kinds of batteries are included in the law, but someexceptions include medical device batteries, lead-acid batteries over 11 pounds and batteries that are not designed to be easily removed from items. Electric vehicle batteries are also not included in the EPR program, but the law would require the state’s Department of Ecology to publish policy recommendations for EV battery collection by April 2024.
Washington already hasother stewardship programs for paint, electronic products, photovoltaic solar panels and mercury-containing light bulbs.
Supporters include Zero Waste Washington, which said the bill effectivelyaddresses safety and environmental issues batteries can cause, as well asrepresentatives from state solid waste authorities and fire departments. The Rechargeable Battery Association has said parts of the bill were needlessly complex andasked lawmakers to allow producers to charge a fee to consumers to cover management costs.
March 3, 2023
New York carpet EPR program to start in 2026
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a chapter amendment March 3 to postpone the deadline for parts of the state’s extended producer responsibility law for carpet. The amendment gives carpet producers more time to create collection programs.
Hochul signed the original EPR for carpetbill into law in January, and this additional law extends the program’s effective date to July 1, 2026. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, which is responsible for approving producers’ recycling plan proposals, requested additional time to implement the new law, according to the bill text.
Under the original EPR bill text, producers would have had to submit plans by the end of the year. The chapter amendment now gives producers until Dec. 31, 2025, to submit details on how they will participate in an industry recycling program or establish their own program. They will need to implement those plans starting July 1, 2026.
Lawmakers had already planned to start the program in 2026, and this amendment is seen as a minor change to the original EPR bill to reflect that timeline.
New York’s EPR for carpet law sets mandatory carpet recycling metrics, calls for recycled content in new carpet and requires free, convenient locations for residents to drop off old carpet. The law also bans intentionally-added perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in new carpet and sets mandatory recycling rates.
Jan. 3, 2023
New York becomes second state with EPR for carpet
Enactment date: January 2026
New York joins California as the latest state to establish an extended producer responsibility program for carpet. It makes producers responsible for the cost to manage end-of-life carpet. Producers must participate in an industry recycling program or establish their own recycling program approved by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. Producers have until Dec. 31, 2025, to submit plans to the state.
Bills A.9279-A/S.5027-C set mandatory carpet recycling metrics, call for recycled content in new carpet and require free, convenient locations for residents to drop off old carpet. The law also bans intentionally-added PFAS in new carpet.
The law calls for a 30% recycling rate within five years after DEC approves each stewardship program, with 10% of that considered “closed-loop recycling,” according to the bill. The recycling rate must be 50% within 10 years and 75% within 15 years, ultimately reaching a 40% closed loop recycling rate.
Chemical recycling is not considered a valid recycling method in this bill. Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed an amendment that would have removed that provision, according to New York Focus. That amendment did not pass. Bill proponents like the National Stewardship Action Council and the Product Stewardship Institute say the EPR program will help raise the state’s carpet recycling rate, which currently is about 1%.
New York’s right-to-repair law, first in the country, allows consumers to fix their own electronics
Enactment date: July 1, 2023.
The Digital Fair Repair Act requires original equipment manufacturers to make repair information and tools for certain electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptops, available to both consumers and independent repair providers.
Many companies do not make repair manuals and specialized repair tools available to the public, or they only make them available to their authorized repair partners. Bill proponents consider such tactics to be anticompetitive behavior and say “right to repair” laws allow consumers more control over devices.
New York is the first state to require such information from OEMs, said Gov. Kathy Hochul when she signed the bill into law Dec. 29. “This legislation will empower consumers with better options to repair their devices, thereby maximizing the lifespan of their devices, saving money, and reducing electronic waste," she said. The law applies to covered devices manufactured or sold or used for the first time on or after July 1, 2023.
The bills, S4104A/A7006B, faced strong opposition and lobbying from manufacturers like John Deere, as well as TechNet, a trade association representing companies like Apple and Samsung, according to the Times-Union.
The bills went through numerous revisions, ultimately exempting farm, motor vehicle, construction and medical equipment, as well as certain home appliances and safety communications equipment. The Repair Association, which advocated for the bill in the state, applauded the ultimate passage but expressed disappointment that the final bill had so many exemptions.
Michigan aims to overhaul state recycling with emphasis on reuse and eventual 45% recycling rate
Updated Dec. 23, 2022
Enactment date: 90 days after bill signing.
The bill, part of the state’s major package meant to overhaul Michigan’s solid waste management system, aims to shift state resources away from disposal and toward recycling, diversion and circular economy strategies.
The bill names reuse as the “principal objective” of Michigan’s solid waste management plan. It also sets an eventual 45% recycling rate target. It does not specify a deadline for that goal, but does call for reaching an interim 30% rate goal by 2029. The current state recycling rate is about 19%.
Michigan to provide funding for recycling market development
Updated Dec. 23, 2022
Enactment date: 90 days after bill signing.
HB 4459, signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Dec. 22, calls for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to provide grants or loans, or use funding from the state Solid Waste Management Fund, to improve recycling and reuse efforts or access to recycling. Money can also be spent to hire personnel to address recycled materials market development.
The bill also calls for EGLE to create a recycling markets program and a recycling innovation program. This program would offer grants or loans for acquiring equipment or technology for R&D, recycling market development ideas, education campaigns or other projects. It encourages collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Supporters such as the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Recycling Coalition say the bill will help boost recycling rates while also fostering new and stronger business opportunities.
California will ban “precheckout bags” that don’t meet compostability and recyclability requirements. This will apply to bags for items such as “loose produce, meat or fish, nuts, grains, candy, and bakery goods,” according to the bill. The bill also prohibits stores from using bags that insinuate they are compostable using misleading labeling but don’t meet the ASTM standard for compostability.This builds on the state’s existing bag ban.
California updates its bottle bill to prevent fraud
Enactment date: Sept. 30, 2022.
The law prohibits processors from paying cash to certified recycling centers, curbside programs, and other bottle bill collection programs to avoid fraud. It also calls for CalRecycle to study and develop a proposal for reducing contamination in recycled glass, which the agency says is a major barrier to improving the quality of all recyclables.
California expands bottle bill to add wine and spirits
Enactment date: Jan. 1, 2024
The law adds certain wine and distilled spirits bottles to the state’s container redemption program and establishes a 10-cent redemption value on most of the bottles. It also creates a 25-cent refund on “difficult to recycle” wine packaging, including boxes, bladders, pouches and similar plastic containers.
Other provisions in the bill provide millions of dollars in market development initiatives, grants for recycled glass and funding for local programs aimed at collecting more containers.
CalRecycle will create three new grant programs: one for the use of glass cullet in new bottles, one for pilots for glass collection bins at restaurants and other retail locations, and one to encourage rail transportation to move empty glass containers to processing facilities.
CalRecycle will also fund curbside and neighborhood drop-off programs, municipal and county recycling and litter cleanup activities, statewide recycling education and other community recycling initiatives.
Large haulers like Recology, Republic Services and WM supported the bill, as did environmental groups like Californians Against Waste. Glass processor Strategic Materials and big names in bottling like Anheuser-Busch and Ball Corp. also supported the bill.
This new law updates the State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign to stipulate agencies must purchase recycled products whenever they are available at no more than a 10% higher total cost. Formerly, agencies could purchase the recycled versions when they were available at the same or a lower total cost than alternative options.
The bill also lays out eligible products’ minimum recycled content and recyclability requirements. Starting in 2026, CalRecycle must update the product list and recycling requirements every three years as long as it considers market conditions, recycling rates and recycling or processing infrastructure capacity.
Supporters included several environmental groups and municipalities who said it would help increase demand for recycled products. Opponents, like the American Chemistry Council and some state manufacturers, said the bill would make it difficult to find eligible products due to nationwide supply chain constraints and increased demand for recycled content products.
California adds battery-embedded products to state e-waste program
Enactment date: Jan. 1, 2026
California’s SB 1215 adds battery-embedded products to the state’s e-waste program, meaning consumers will pay a disposal fee when they purchase such products starting in 2026. “Battery-embedded” means a product with a battery not designed to be easily removed. Manufacturers of covered electronic devices sold in the state will need to submit a report to CalRecycle and educate consumers on where and how to return, recycle, or dispose of the covered electronic device.
The law establishes an extended producer responsibility program meant to make battery drop-offs easier and reduce fires in collection vehicles and at waste and recycling facilities. Manufacturers must create a stewardship organization to handle collection, transportation and recycling and keep track of how many batteries are recycled.
California already has a takeback program for some types of rechargeable batteries, but consumers dropped off numerous other types of batteries because they were not sure which ones the program covered, bill proponents said.
Supporters included the California Product Stewardship Council, a sponsor of the bill, along with Rethink Waste, Californians Against Waste, Republic Services and numerous solid waste management districts.
California delays enforcement penalties for organic waste targets
Enactment date: Jan. 1, 2025
AB 1985 delays enforcement penalties for jurisdictions that fail to meet organic waste procurement targets set out in SB 1383. Bill sponsors say the legislation will give local governments more time to ramp up infrastructure needed to meet the goals. It also allows renewable gas procured from a publicly owned treatment works to count toward a jurisdiction’s procurement target until 2025. Other provisions are meant to help rural counties create an adjusted organics collection target schedule starting in 2027.
Massachusetts climate bill allows some anaerobic digesters to participate in state energy incentive program
Enactment date: Jan. 1, 2023
With H 5060, Massachusetts allows some anaerobic digesters and landfill gas facilities that produce biogas to qualify for the state’s peak energy incentive program starting in 2023. That program provides incentives for “clean energy technologies,” such as wind or solar, that can supply electricity or reduce demand during peak periods.
Only certain existing AD and landfill gas facilities that were operational prior to Nov. 7, 2018, can participate in program. Groups such as the National Waste & Recycling Association and Vanguard Renewables have said the opportunity still helps benefit operations in the state.
The major climate bill, which aims to reduce Massachusetts’ dependence on fossil fuels, also includes provisions removing new industrial-scale biomass plants from the state’s definition of renewable energy.
Massachusetts’ goal is to reduce carbon emissions from 1990 levels at least 33% by 2025 and at least 50% by 2030.
Enactment date: One year after the Department of Environmental Management issues regulations for its enforcement or Jan. 1, 2024, whichever comes first.
The law bans single-use plastic bags at grocery stores, drugstores and other retail businesses and imposes fines. Many Rhode Island municipalities already have their own bag bans; the new law is meant to make the regulations consistent throughout the state. Supporters also say the law will help curb plastic pollution in waterways and ease contamination in recycling loads.
Stores will still be able to offer recyclable paper bags. Reusable bags will need to have “stitched handles” and be designed for 125 uses or more. The law exempts some types of single-use plastic bags, including plastic newspaper bags, bags for unwrapped bakery items or prepared foods and dry cleaning bags.
Conservation Law Foundation Rhode Island is among the bill’s supporters.
Iowa updates bottle bill redemption center reimbursements
Enactment date: Business exemption went into effect July 1, 2022. Reimbursement goes into effect Jan.1, 2023.
Iowa lawmakers voted to increase the reimbursement paid to bottle redemption centers from one cent per container to three cents. Beverage distributors pay the fee, but they get to keep the full five cents for containers that aren’t redeemed, the Iowa Capitol Dispatch reported. Retailers can stop taking the containers if they are licensed to prepare ready-to-eat food or are located within 10-15 miles of a redemption center, depending on a county’s population
The bill passed after years of debate over updates to the state’s aging bottle bill. State Sen. Jason Schultz, the bill sponsor, said tripling the handling fee will help redemption centers hire more employees and ease the backlog of cans piling up at several locations. The Container Recycling Institute spoke against the opt-out provision of the bill, saying it will make it harder for people to find redemption centers and that the remaining centers would be overloaded with containers.
South Carolina ends weight-based goals for electronics takebacks
Enactment date: Jan. 1, 2023
South Carolina’s H4775 will end weight-based collection goals for its electronics takeback program in favor of recycling convenience requirements aimed at making it easier for residents to return old TVs and computers. Some experts say this model could become more common in states with electronics EPR because devices are continuing to get lighter. The weight of electronics the state collects has declined since 2016.
The new law would require between one and three collection sites, depending on population, for each county, or four community collection events per year. Producers will still keep track of the weight of covered electronics collected, and manufacturers in the state must still cover the cost for packaging and transporting devices.
The Consumer Technology Association and the Product Stewardship Institute were among the bill’s supporters.
Colorado’s new law creates an EPR program for most types of packaging that will be operated and funded by producers who join a nonprofit producer responsibility organization. Producers will pay dues each year based on the amount and type of applicable paper or packaging they use. Fees will go toward funding new or improved recycling services across the state. The bill exempts businesses with less than $5 million in gross annual revenue.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will oversee the program with input from an advisory board of recycling stakeholders.
The PRO will hire an independent third party to assess Colorado’s recycling services by April 2024 and to identify which recycling needs aren’t being met. The assessment will look at potentially expanding recycling programs to include places like businesses, government buildings and other locations by 2028. Guidance would also include proposed recycling rates the state would need to meet by January 2030 and January 2035.
Colorado is the third state to adopt EPR for packaging. Proponents included the Colorado Municipal League and Colorado Communities for Climate Action, as well as several environmental groups. Opponents included the American Forest & Paper Association. Some waste haulers said they support EPR but felt the bill was overly complicated.
Washington bill sets 75% reduction target for organic waste disposal by 2030 and establishes other compost policies
Enactment date: Varies
Considered one of the most comprehensive state policies for organics management in the U.S., Washington’s HB 1799 sets a goal to reduce organic waste disposal 75% by 2030. It also aims to increase the volume of edible food recovery 20% by 2025. Both goals are compared with a 2015 baseline.
Businesses with at least eight cubic yards of weekly organic waste will be required to have on-site management or collection services by 2024, and generators of smaller amounts will face the same requirementin 2025 and 2026. Local governments will need to start offering source-separated organics collection services in 2027.
The bill also creates compostable product label standards — the first in the country — and updates liability standards for food donation. Other provisions require local governments to adopt new compost procurement requirements, support farm use of compost and allow for the siting of organics processing facilities.
The Washington Refuse & Recycling Association, which represents haulers and composters such as WM, Republic Services and Waste Connections, supported the bill.
The state’s bottle bill already covers aluminum beer cans, so the bill is meant to make it easier for residents to redeem the growing number of canned wine containers. Many residents assume the canned wine containers already carry a deposit, bill supporters say.
The Oregon wine industry took a neutral position on the bill, except to advocate for moving implementation from 2024 to 2025. The Association of Oregon Recyclers supported the bill.
Oregon’s mattress EPR bill, SB 1576, is meant to reduce illegal dumping and offer “free, convenient and accessible” collection sites in every county. Mattress producers must join a stewardship organization, pay an annual fee and submit a mattress management plan for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s approval no later than Oct. 1, 2023. The stewardship organization has seven months after initial approval to implement the plan.
Mattress producers also need to decide on collection targets, recycling goals and public awareness plans. Consumers who buy a new mattress in the state will have to pay a flat fee for the program, which DEQ will set. Several state recycling organizations, as well as mattress industry stakeholders such as the International Sleep Products Association, supported the bill.
New Jersey sets recycled content requirements for packaging
Enactment date: Jan. 6, 2024
New Jersey’s post-consumer recycled content law establishes minimum recycled content requirements starting in 2024 for certain plastic, glass and paper packaging. It also bans polystyrene packing peanuts in 2024.
The bill establishes these minimum post-consumer recycled content standards:
10% for rigid plastic containers, rising incrementally to 50% by 2036
15% for plastic beverage containers, rising incrementally to 50% by 2045
35% for recycled content in glass bottles
20% for plastic carryout bags, rising incrementally to 40% by 2027.
Between 20% and 40% for paper carryout bags, depending on size
A range of standards from 10% to 40% for plastic trash bags based on thickness
Both supporters and critics of the bill see its passage as a significant sign that New Jersey and the broader region will need to prioritize recycling collection in the coming years. Those in opposition, including AMERIPEN, the Consumer Brands Association, PLASTICS, the Glass Packaging Institute and the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, said the bill did not thoroughly assess current markets to make sure the post-consumer content standards will be feasible. Supporters like Environment New Jersey and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries said the bill had achievable and clear metrics.