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Sustainable Legislation In America Pointed Towards Circularity

For years, state and federal governments have considered the future of plastic use and as of late, a handful of states have tackled legislation related to recycling and consumption.

Recently, legislation to improve our recycling infrastructure and decrease single use plastics has had great success. For instance, two states have passed Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation back in May 2022 which shifts the responsibility for financing and improving collection and sortation programs of recyclable materials to producers.

This type of legislation lays the foundation for a circular economy and forces corporations and businesses to become more conscientious about the products being made.

Movement towards increased EPR bills has continued on the state level, even beyond what we saw in 2021 - when Maine and Oregon both passed EPR legislation.

This year, sixteen other states introduced EPR bills and in May, Colorado became the third state to pass EPR legislation.

On June 30th 2022, California’s governor signed CA SB 54 making it the fourth state to have an EPR bill. The bill calls not only for producers to finance recycling infrastructure but also requires producers to reduce plastic packaging and food ware.

Arguably our country’s broadest paper and plastic packaging EPR bill to date, California’s bill also requires producers to change a portion of the packaging that they use to protect the contents inside to reuse and refill systems.

The reuse and refill business models are an effective way to decrease pollution. Exactly what this will look like and which of our favorite products will be part of the reuse and refill systems will be clearer in 2032 when the legislation is in full effect.

One thing that is certain is that due to the sheer size of California’s GDP2 this will have far reaching impacts!

Producer’s will have to rise to the challenges set forth in CA SB 54 to sell their product in the state with the largest GDP in the US. It is likely that other states will follow the reuse and refill model and require producers to switch some of their packaging to the refill and reuse systems.

Stay tuned for more updates on legislation as more states push for reform bringing us closer to circularity.


Sources: The world is ditching plastics with reuse and refill laws and practices - Greenpeace International

GDP by State | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

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