Organizations Respond to Minnesota EPR Legislation

A bill detailing Extended Producer Responsibility in Minnesota passed on May 21, making it the fifth state to push legislation regarding packaging manufacturing, use and disposal. The new legislation, introduced in February, incentivizes manufacturers to make all packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2032, shifting costs away from the consumer.

Stefanie Valentic, Editorial Director

May 24, 2024

3 Min Read

A bill detailing Extended Producer Responsibility in Minnesota passed on May 21, making it the fifth state to push legislation regarding packaging manufacturing, use and disposal.

The new legislation, introduced in February, incentivizes manufacturers to make all packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2032, shifting costs away from the consumer. Producers will be required to pay half of the cost for recycling, with incremental increases until 2031, when the percentage will reach 90 percent.

Packaging accounts for 40 percent of the state's waste stream, making this legislation's impact beneficial for some, while others question whether current measures are sufficient.

The state's first producer responsibility measure centered around rechargeable batteries passed in 1991. Additional laws regarding general electronics recycling were enacted in 2007 and 2009. Minnesota also has a paint stewardship law, which passed in 2013 as well as a mercury thermostat stewardship law that passed through the legislature in 2014.

Multiple organizations applauded the measure, while others sought modifications to the bills. American Beverage Association CEO Kevin Keane called The Packaging Waste and Reduction Act "well-designed," saying that it set a "strong standard for effective collection systems."

“The Minnesota EPR legislation is modeled after successful EPR programs that create a circular system for packaging," he said. "These systems ensure producers fund and operate the system and have access to their recovered materials so they can be turned into new products. They also provide fair and appropriate government oversight and accountability. Importantly, this producer-led system will be financially sustainable and convenient for Minnesotans."

Alejandro Pérez, World Wildlife Fund, senior vice president, policy and government affairs, commented on act and its move to reduce plastic pollution.

“We are now one step closer to our goal to keep plastic out of nature. Extended Producer Responsibility policies in states like Colorado, California and now Minnesota provide the necessary infrastructure, economic incentives and accessibility for consumers to ensure plastic waste is managed sustainably," he said.

The Recycling Partnership called EPR laws such as the one in Minnesota "the country’s most effective tools to address the gaps in the current residential recycling system"

“The Minnesota law will drive a more effective recycling system and provide critically needed recycled material feedstock to a hungry manufacturing sector in Minnesota and beyond,” said Kate Davenport, Chief Policy Officer of The Recycling Partnership. “EPR laws like Minnesota’s will ensure that the paper products and packaging that is sold on store shelves in Minnesota will be responsibly managed and paid for by the producers that make them. We applaud the leadership of policymakers on both sides of the aisle, and we stand ready to support its implementation.” 

The organization projected that the five states that have adopted EPR are estimated to recycle a combined additional 2.8 million tons of material on an annual basis.

The American Forest & Paper Association’s Government Affairs Manager Frazier Willman previously provided written testimony in opposition to the bill.

He stated that the forest product industry has a "strong" sustainability track record and is working to make paper and paper-based packaging more circular through market-based approaches.

He previously said that SF 3561 could "unintentionally create a glut of unrecyclable, reusable packaging that consumers may treat as single-use products, similar to current situation with e-commerce and curbside grocery pickup in New Jersey."

About the Author(s)

Stefanie Valentic

Editorial Director, Waste360

Stefanie Valentic is the editorial director of Waste360. She can be reached at [email protected].

 

Stay in the Know - Subscribe to Our Newsletters
Join a network of more than 90,000 waste and recycling industry professionals. Get the latest news and insights straight to your inbox. Free.

You May Also Like