Maine has passed an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging bill, also known as LD 1541.
EPRs require producers to help fund and manage the collection and recycling of their products, often by requiring them to pay a stewardship organization that works on their behalf to fulfill their legal requirements.
Several U.S. states have EPRs in place for specialized streams, such as electronics, carpet and paint, but no state has passed an EPR program for curbside paper and packaging streams. However, such programs for packaging do exist in more than 40 countries and five Canadian provinces.
Once LD 1541 is enacted, government officials would have direct control over how much money producers would be required to pay to support the recycling of their packaging, and would empower the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to set the fee schedule based on per-ton collection and processing costs.
On the other side of the country, the Oregon state legislature has passed SB582, which establishes a producer responsibility program for packaging, paper for printing and writing, and food serviceware. It currently awaits the governor’s signature.