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August 9, 2021

Oregon becomes second US state to pass packaging EPR law

The law will make recycling more accessible for those living in multi-family housing, rural and remote communities.

Oregon has passed an extended producer responsibility (EPR) law for packaging with the aim of improving recycling and saving taxpayers money.

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Governor Kate Brown signed the Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernisation Act on 6 August, making Oregon the second US state to pass such legislation.

Brand owners selling packaging, paper products and foodservice ware in Oregon will join stewardship organisations and pay fees to help expand recycling programmes and infrastructure across the state.

The fees will be based on several factors, including products’ recyclability, their use of post-consumer recycled content and the life cycle impacts of the materials they use.

Consumer brand payments are expected to fund around a quarter of the costs of a modernised recycling system.

Despite the new law, residential and commercial ratepayers will continue to bear the costs of collection.

The legislation also introduces a statewide collection list intended to help provide recycling access to rural and remote communities.

Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) CEO and founder Scott Cassel said: “With this new law, Oregon ratepayers will be provided [with] a much more accessible, responsible and stable recycling system.

“It will also provide producers with the financial incentive to make their packaging more sustainable, and local communities with funding for reuse and waste prevention programmes.”

PSI policy and programmes manager and packaging lead Sydney Harris said: “It’s encouraging to see the extensive provisions aimed at addressing recycling inequities and environmental justice in Oregon’s new law.

“We have these elements in PSI’s policy model and hope to see them included in all packaging EPR legislation.”

Last month, Maine passed a law requiring consumer brands to cover all recycling costs. This differs from the law passed in Oregon, under which producers will not have to cover collection costs.

In 2009, Oregon passed EPR legislation for paint in collaboration with state and local governments, the paint industry and other relevant bodies.

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