Lorax EPI

EPR in North America - where is it going?

EPR in North America - where is it going?
by Rachel Langhill at 18:43 in Content, Emerging, Packaging

This article was updated on 26th August 2021.


This blog is part of a wider series from Lorax EPI, taking a deep-dive into the current and future landscapes for packaging extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations on a global scale.

When it comes to packaging EPR in North America, legislation tends to be regionally focused rather than nationally captured. In Canada, several provinces have varying degrees of producer responsibility for packaging, with other provinces announcing the establishment of their own plans and a federal bill under discussion. In the United States, where no packaging EPR currently exists, two states passed laws this year to enact such regulations in the near future, with a federal bill additionally being considered.

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As a result, North American producers can expect to see packaging EPR become increasingly common, alongside existing fees in Canada becoming higher.


Canada

Five Canadian provinces have existing packaging EPR with varying levels of producer responsibility. In British Columbia and Québec, programs operate with 100% producer funding. Other provinces with EPR programs not operating with full producer responsibility, including Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario​, have announced in recent months either plans or passed legislation to move to funding models similar to those found in BC and Québec.

In several provinces without existing programs, including in Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, governments are either pushing for packaging EPR, consulting on funding mechanisms or introducing draft regulations at this time, indicating that more schemes are to come online in Canada in upcoming years.

Federally, the Canadian Government consulted on a 'Proposed Integrated Management Approach to Plastic Products to Prevent Waste and Pollution' document in late 2020. Part of the consultation includes the enactment of EPR for handling the end-of-life costs for products and packaging. This would establish consistent rules across all jurisdictions and extend to all major sectors of the Canadian plastics industry. While this federal program may begin its focus solely on plastic packaging, the document indicates that a potential move to more harmonized packaging EPR in Canada is a possibility in the near future.

United States​

While there are no current existing packaging EPR programs, several US states have been introducing EPR legislation in recent years, with two bills recently signed by state governors to be enacted into law.

In late July and early August, bills in Maine and Oregon​ passed through both the respective Houses and Senates and were signed by the governors into law. Other states, including New York, Massachusetts, California and New Jersey, are also currently still discussing EPR legislation, though these bills are more likely to be passed during next year's legislative sessions. Once one state passes regulations for EPR, Lorax EPI anticipates many others to follow suit.

On a national level, the Break Free From Plastics Pollution Act of 2021, which was re-introduced in March, would enact a nationwide packaging EPR program as soon as February 2023. This bill is not expected to pass through this legislative session, though it indicates federal interest in such a program, which could be enacted in future years.


With packaging EPR regulations comes packaging EPR compliance and reporting, which can become rather difficult when so many schemes in one country operate so differently from each other. Lorax EPI offers a comprehensive service, using our in-house, cloud-based software, which relieves the reporting burden for companies that have EPR obligations. We maintain detailed records of the reporting requirements of compliance schemes around the world and work with businesses to ensure that all EPR reports are submitted correctly and on time.

If you are interested in knowing more about our software and reporting services, please contact us to talk to one of our consultants today.​

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