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May 4, 2022
Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association’s (NWRA) Rocky Mountain chapter submitted letters on April 27 to the Colorado House and Senate in opposition to House Bill 1355 related to extended producer responsibility (EPR).
During the last floor debate on April 27, Rep. Andy Pico of Colorado Springs read the letter aloud, showing his support of NWRA’s position. The Association also received responses from Sen. Jessie Danielson and Rep. Tonya Van Beber’s offices.
NWRA recognizes and applauds Colorado in particular for its longstanding role as a leader in sustainability solutions. NWRA and its members are similarly committed to supporting the development of safe, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible recycling programs benefitting communities throughout the state. However, a statewide EPR program for all packaging materials and paper products has the potential to upend the existing state and municipal recycling programs may have lasting impacts on innovation and investment. They could even do more harm than good when not enacted in a thoughtful manner that accounts for systemwide effects and end market considerations. NWRA’s Policy Position on EPR outlines the Association’s position.
House Bill 1355 disadvantages Colorado businesses against out-of-state competition, punishes consumers and businesses, allows for speculation of recycling materials, and doesn’t fix the problem. NWRA joins other Colorado business groups in opposition to this bill.
A number of studies have been conducted on EPR and the negative effects it could have on consumers. In 2021, an EPR proposal in New York was independently analyzed by York University. Using New York and Canadian data, the study estimated a typical “basket of goods” would see costs increase by 4 to 6 percent if the bill had passed. The most analogous program in existence is the Quebec model. That program costs more than $233 million a year and only reimburses existing municipal recyclers. House Bill 1355 could cost much more, and there are no guardrails.
In 2021, NWRA hired Eunomia to conduct a study on current European EPR policy and concluded that there is no evidence that EPR, as currently designed and implemented, has led to the use of more recycled content. Additionally, evidence could not be found linking EPR to increased end market values for packaging waste, all while increasing costs to consumers and businesses.
House Bill 1355 is scheduled for its third calendar reading on May 2. The bill could be sent over to the Senate as early as today. The Rocky Mountain chapter will continue to monitor this bill throughout the legislative process.
The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.
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