May 15: The most recent updates to this tracker include the governors of Maryland, Oregon, Washington and Maine signing bills into law. Maryland’s law calls for a statewide recycling needs assessment that could later pave the way for an EPR for packaging program, while Oregon’s new law bans polystyrene foam food containers. Washington’s governor approved a law creating an EPR program for batteries, and Maine’s approved an emergency bottle bill handling fee increase. Meanwhile, Vermont’s Senate passed a bottle bill expansion.
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.