Manufacturers may soon be responsible for managing their packaging waste in California as state regulators move forward with a mandatory program covering end-of-life management for packaging.
Last September, the director of the California Department of Resources Recovery and Recycling (CalRecycle), sent an internal memo to staff to develop “a mandatory comprehensive, statewide packaging program” to reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in landfills — 8 million tons annually, or about a quarter of California’s total waste stream.
This included an extender producer responsibility (EPR) system. Such systems require manufacturers to fund and manage recycling and disposal programs for their products. Proponents say they divert waste from landfills and increase recycling rates while also saving money and creating recycling jobs
As Resource Recycling reports, the state next week will hold a meeting to discuss what an end-of-life management program for packing would look like. CalRecycle told the publication that the March 22 meeting is part of “an extensive public consultation process to gather feedback during development of the model.”
While manufacturers in more than 30 states and even some local jurisdictions must comply with EPR laws — these cover paint, carpet, electronics and batteries, pharmaceuticals and medical waste, fluorescent lighting, thermostats and mattresses, among other things — no US state has adopted a mandatory EPR system for packaging.
Rhode Island and Connecticut have considered EPR laws to finance and manage their recycling systems, and some Canadian provinces, including British Columbia, have them on the books, Resource Recycling says.
Connecticut’s EPR bill was met with strong opposition from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, WasteDive reports.