Colorado EPR bill signed as New York bills fail
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) also released a statement praising the passage of the law.
“By combining effective waste management practices with responsibility, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an essential tool in the fight against plastic pollution,” said Alejandro Pérez, senior vice president of policy and government affairs at WWF. “We have a lot of work to do to achieve a zero-waste future, but we’ve come one step closer thanks to Colorado’s actions. The state is setting an example of how industry, environmentalists and policymakers can join forces to transform the way we use, reuse and recycle materials.
Separately, WWF and American Beverage (formerly the American Beverage Association) issued a press release calling the “landmark legislation” a “well-crafted version of an innovative collection policy known as Extended Producer Responsibility, which has helped increase recycling rates in Europe and Canada.”
“Our 100% recyclable bottles and cans are made to be remade, and one of our industry’s highest priorities is getting them back,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of American Beverage, in the release. . “Colorado’s legislation is a promising model for creating a circular economy for recyclables, and we applaud Governor Polis for signing this legislation into law.”
The statement said evidence from other EPR programs shows that consumers “do not see a change in prices in stores.” The cost of EPR royalties is embedded in wholesale producer prices and is spread across the entire supply chain. »
Not everyone was happy with the signing. The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) lobbied against the bill in the Legislature and had sought a veto from the governor. In a statement, Heidi Brock, president and CEO of AF&PA, said the group was disappointed with the enactment of the law, which she said is not the right approach for paper and packaging to paper base.
“Consistently high recycling rates, continued investment in the industry, and continued efforts to promote voluntary recycling are proof that paper recycling is a model that works,” Brock said.
“More paper by weight is recycled from municipal waste streams each year than aluminum, glass, steel and plastic combined,” she noted. “Instead of recognizing these achievements, the legislation will effectively force our industry to subsidize programs for materials with low recycling rates. This could disrupt paper recycling streams and hamper our industry’s ability to invest in infrastructure. It could also increase costs for Colorado consumers and small businesses.
She urged Colorado policymakers to work together to remove barriers to access to recycling, underfunding and underdeveloped recycling programs, and the lack of official guidelines or municipal governance of recycling.
Two New York bills fail
This session, two different EPR bills failed to make it out of committee in New York, and a similar EPR program was dropped from Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed executive budget earlier in the year. The Legislature fully adjourned effective Saturday, June 4.
A10185 was introduced on May 5 by Assemblyman Steve Englebright. It would have required producers to change packaging design to reduce waste, pay royalties based on the amount of packaging material used, and provide “widespread, convenient and fair access” to recycling, at an equal level. to that of municipal waste.
It would also have required producers to reduce their use of non-reusable packaging by 10% two years after the implementation of their producer plans, 20% at four years, 30% at six years, 40% at eight years and at least 50% ten years after the implementation of the plan.
All non-reusable packaging should also have been recycled at a rate of 50% five years after the implementation of the producer plan, 80% eight years after and 90% 12 years after the implementation of the plan.
The bill was backed by advocacy group Beyond Plastics. He stagnated on the Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation. Englebright’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky introduced S1185 in January 2021, which would also have established an EPR program for packaging. It would have allowed producers to propose recycling rate targets and post-consumer content rates, and also included eco-modulation to reward producers for designing products that reduce waste and increase recyclability.
This bill died in the Senate Finance Committee. Kaminsky’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
The Recycling Partnership, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, New York League of Conservation Voters and New York Product Stewardship Council, among other groups, had urged New York lawmakers to pass an EPR bill this session.