- Michael Oshman
States Implementing Extended Producer Responsibility Laws for Recycling
Almost 20 states are considering “extended producer responsibility” laws, requiring plastic producers to fund and/or participate in recycling the plastics. Since 2021, four states have already passed these laws to shift the burden of recycling back on producers to encourage them to switch to more recyclable materials. With plastic packing materials responsible for 40% of all plastic waste, many of the proposed policies focus on targeting this specific type of plastic. As the first state to introduce an extended producer responsibility law, Maine requires plastic producers to pay into a program that is used to reimburse the cost to recycle. In Colorado, the law takes a different shape and has established a program that producers fund and manage. The companies join together under the non-profit Producer Responsibility Organization to hold responsibility for recycling the plastic they create. Each company is required to pay dues to the non-profit which go towards covering 100% of the recycling costs. The organization also helps educate consumers and has oversight from an advisory board to help oversee the fulfillment of their responsibilities.