Lorax EPI

How far will it go in the US: An update on Extended Producer Responsibility across the United States
by Justin Given at 15:09 in Emerging, Environmental, Packaging

​Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging has seen rapid growth in the United States over the last 2 years. Four states have already passed EPR legislation, with seventeen more states having proposed EPR bills during their 2022 legislative sessions. The perspective of EPR in the United States is centred on the financials of waste management, to allow for producers to relieve the municipalities of some of the economic burden that the waste management process possesses.


Current Situation

The four states that have adopted EPR legislation have done it in completely unique ways, even though they all have the same goal. Maine was the pioneer of packaging EPR in the United States and is looking to have EPR fully implemented by 2026. For further information check out: Maine enters the world of Extended Producer Responsbility. After Maine, Oregon was the next to adopt an EPR law. Oregon extended their EPR coverage to also include food service ware and printed paper; compliance is anticipated to commence in 2025.

In 2022, Colorado and California followed with their own versions of packaging EPR. In Colorado, the Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) will be chosen as soon as June 2023, full implementation will be from 2025. You can read more on Colorado here: Colorado's EPR Law. The California EPR bill defined their packaging coverage slightly differently to that of the previous states as theirs covers "single-use plastic packaging" alongside food service ware. Compliance in California is projected to begin in 2027.

EPR Forecast

Packaging EPR legislation is swiftly gaining momentum in some other US states. It is predicted that there will be a considerable number of states that will enact more EPR legislation first, before we could potentially see EPR being pursued at a federal level.

A prime candidate for the next passing of EPR is New York, the Governor had included an EPR program in her executive budget earlier in the year, but this was eventually cut. In addition to this there were two different EPR bills that were introduced across the 2021-22 sessions. Although they did not see any progression through the committee this time, it is highly likely we will see similar bills being introduced in the new session.

Virginia and New Jersey both have proposed bills which will carry over from the 2022 legislative session. Meanwhile, the other prospective states will have to re-introduce EPR bills into their respective 2023 sessions. The state of New Hampshire has also commissioned an EPR study bill, the results from which are expected in early 2023.

Due to EPR legislation being established at state level, it can prove to be a bit of a predicament for companies who operate across multiple states, as their packaging will have to comply with each state's individual regulations.

If you have any questions about the different EPR legislation in the United States and how it could impact your business, please contact one of our experienced consultants today.

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