Maine enters the world of Extended Producer Responsbility
by Dylan Kingsbury at 21:04 in Circular Economy, Packaging
Maine's extended producer responsibility (EPR) bill, otherwise known as LD 1541, was signed into law by Governor Janet Mills on 12 July 2021. It was the first of its kind in the United States and, when it comes into force in 2026, it will establish a European-style producer responsibility system in Maine. This will mean that producers of packaging material will need to financially account for the disposal of their products at the end of its life.
First off, a central insight into this bill is that it does not apply exclusively to plastic packaging waste, often seen as the bulk of the packaging issue. Rather, 'packaging material' is broadly any discrete type of material(s) used as packaging in any form.
Furthermore, this bill will require the establishment of a stewardship organization that will collect fees from producers to account for their product's waste. This organization, after a bidding process, will have jurisdiction across the entire state. The fees collected will be distributed to municipalities to cover the costs of the waste disposal.
Finally, the 'producer', the person that has legal ownership of the brand of a product sold, or the importer if no producer exists, will bear financial responsibility for the packaging or arrange for its treatment by the stewardship organization. Fees will vary between large and small producers and depending on the kind of material used.
The process of enacting this legislation will begin no later than the end of 2023. Companies should then prepare to register and start paying fees in Maine by 2026. If you have any questions about Maine's LD 1541 and how it might impact your business, please contact us at Lorax EPI to speak to one of our consultants.
Click here to receive regular updates on blog posts, webinars, and regulatory changes directly to your inbox