A legislative task force charged with evaluating strategies to reduce the amount of consumer packaging in Connecticut's solid waste stream has finalized its recommendations and will formally submit them to lawmakers in February.

The Consumer Packaging Task Force was formed by lawmakers in 2016, giving it a host of focus areas including:

  • Leveraging the use of voluntary industry-funded programs and public-private partnerships
  • Promoting recycling in public places
  • Promoting plastic bag recycling
  • Promoting public education programs
  • Encouraging continued source reduction through package design while understanding that every type of packaging material is different and may not need to be treated the same way
  • Boosting investment in recycling infrastructure through tax breaks, credits, etc.

Benefits, Burdens

Lawmakers also charged the task force with assessing the potential benefits and burdens of adopting a statewide program requiring manufacturers and other packaging producers to be responsible for recapturing their packaging material after its intended use.

These programs are known as extended producer responsibility, or EPR.

Task force members explored the EPR option at length, dedicating several meetings to it and hearing from municipal officials, retailers, manufacturers—even officials from other countries.

The task force voted against recommending that Connecticut adopt an EPR approach for consumer packaging.
This enabled members to better understand EPR, the types of consumer products it impacts, and what other jurisdictions have learned from it.

At its Dec. 12 meeting, the task force voted against recommending that Connecticut adopt an EPR approach for consumer packaging.

The majority of task force members felt the state should pursue other, more effective and cost-efficient strategies.

Sustainability Practices

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Product Stewardship Council are represented on the task force and were among the minority who favored EPR.

The task force should deliver its final report to lawmakers by the Feb. 7 start of the General Assembly session.

Businesses and industries across the globe have adopted sustainability practices designed to reduce the amount of waste they and their products create.

Businesses have found, without government intervention, that these practices save money while protecting the environment.

Several such practices were the focus of the Connecticut Sustainability Conference recently hosted by CBIA and Pratt & Whitney.

For more information, contact CBIA's Eric Brown (860.244.1926) | @CBIAericb