For years, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has asked the legislature to force businesses to finance a program to reduce packaging and recover end-of-life packaging materials.
Known as Extended Producer Responsibility programs, no state has implemented such a program for consumer packaging.
Two years ago, the legislature established a taskforce to study the matter.
The task force issued a report in early 2018 recommending the state not adopt an EPR program for packaging.
Undaunted, DEEP is back this year with a proposal they claim is not an EPR bill.
Yet, HB 7295 mandates that thousands of companies submit reports to DEEP and the legislature identifying how the company is, or is planning to:
- Increase the recycling of its packaging
- Decrease the disposal of its packaging
- Decrease the costs to municipalities for the end of life management of its packaging
- Detail its financing of these programs
The plans are also required to include information on the effectiveness, implementation, and enforcement of a company's plan.
Further, the bill tasks DEEP with reporting to the legislature on recommendations concerning "methods such producers should undertake to increase the recycling of such producers' products, decrease the disposal of such products and decrease the costs to municipalities for the end-of-life management of such products."
This is clearly setting up a future EPR program—ignoring the taskforce's recommendations on EPR as well as for reducing consumer packaging.
These alternatives include:
- Promoting the Elite Circle Award to publicly recognize and promote manufacturers that take voluntary steps to reduce the amount and weight of packaging material
- Leveraging the use of existing, voluntary, industry-funded programs such as the Recycling Partnership and the Closed Loop Fund
- Encouraging manufacturing labeling efforts with streamlined consumer messaging and promote voluntary campaigns such as the Sustainable Packaging Coalition's How2Recycle label
- Dedicating a portion of the unclaimed bottle deposits for the purpose of consumer education, recycling infrastructure investment and MRF improvements
- Encouraging state agencies, such as DEEP and the Department of Economic and Community Development, to collaborate in order to foster economic opportunities with regard to recycling in the state.
- Holding forums, workshops, and hosting events, where the state can highlight good examples of packaging waste reduction for the broader business community
Tell your lawmakers to oppose HB 7295 as an unnecessary burden on Connecticut businesses and their customers.