2022 Was a Record-Setting Year for EPR Bills in NYS and Nationally
Surpassing all other states across the U.S., twelve unique EPR bills were considered by NYS legislators during the 2022 session – 10 would have established new EPR programs and 2 contained amendments to existing programs. EPR bills in New York this year were spread across six product areas: batteries, carpet, electronics, packaging, paint, smoke detectors, and solar panels. NYPSC board members lead advocacy efforts on two same-as carpet EPR bills that passed in both the Senate and Assembly and are awaiting Governor Hochul’s signature (more details below), while several packaging EPR bills moved through the legislature, with support from NYPSC and our coalition, and were nearly included in the state’s FY2023 Executive Budget (details below). Nationally in 2022, 62 unique product stewardship bills to either establish new EPR programs or amend existing ones were considered by legislators across 14 different product areas in 18 states.
NY Dept of Health Approves Two Stewardship Plans for Pharmaceuticals EPR
After a long delay, NYS Department of Health completed reviews of four proposed stewardship plans, approving proposals from MedProject and Inmar to implement the New York Drug Take Back Act. Program implementation is now underway and collection sites will start coming online in the coming months. The law requires pharmaceuticals manufacturers to cover all costs for the program including collection, transportation, and safe disposal of unused medications, as well as the costs of industry program administration and DOH oversight. Certain chain pharmacies (with 10 or more locations) are required to participate as collection sites, and any other qualified collection site can volunteer to participate. Soon New Yorkers across the state will have free, convenient access to safe methods for disposing of leftover medications, keeping them out of the environment and away from kids and other family members. DOH consulted with the Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) in its review and approval of the plans. Over the past decade, NYPSC has collaborated with NYSDEC and the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) to lay the groundwork for and enact the pharmaceuticals stewardship law and program through pilot programs, infrastructure development, and pharmacist education. Learn more about the statewide program on DOH’s website.
PaintCare Launches Paint Take-Back Program Across the State
On May 1, 2022, the PaintCare program launched in New York, providing convenient collection and recycling of latex and oil-based paint at hundreds of sites. Implementation of the program, which became law in 2019 after years of steadfast advocacy from NYPSC, PSI, the American Coatings Association (ACA), and others, makes NY the 11th jurisdiction in the U.S. to join the PaintCare program. Under the new program, households, schools, and businesses can recycle leftover paint, stain, and varnish conveniently and sustainably. PaintCare, a nonprofit organization created by the paint industry, manages leftover paint in 10 states and the District of Columbia, which enacted paint stewardship laws based on the consensus model developed through a PSI-facilitated dialogue. PaintCare plans to expand to over 300 drop-off sites across New York State in the coming months through partnerships with paint retail stores and local government facilities. The New York State PaintCare program is now managed by former NYPSC Chair, Andrew Radin. Learn more on PaintCare’s website.
Carpet EPR Bill Passes State Legislature; Expected to Become Law
A bill to establish Carpet EPR in NYS (S 5027C) passed both the Senate and Assembly in May and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Hochul. If enacted, New York’s law will be the first in the country to include artificial turf. The bill also includes mandatory goals for recycling and post-consumer content in new carpet, convenient collection statewide, producer funding for consumer education and awareness, and the phase-out of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) chemicals from new carpet production, which have been linked to developmental and reproductive disorders and cancer. The bill was a true collaborative effort that built on a PSI model and was supported by NYPSC, New York environmental groups, carpet recyclers, advocacy by SignalFire, and many others. The bill was spearheaded in the legislature by Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblyman Steve Englebright.
Packaging EPR Advances Far, but Still Falls Short of Passage
Despite inclusion in Governor Hochul’s proposed Executive Budget at the start of the legislative session and strong support from Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblyman Steve Englebright, packaging EPR legislation failed to become law this year in NYS. 2022 saw another strong push for packaging EPR in NY, with a proposal from Governor Kathy Hochul in the Executive Budget, followed by a bill introduced by Senator Kaminsky and a third bill introduced by Assemblymember Englebright. Despite the flurry of activity, however, the three parties were unable to reconcile their proposals into a unified vision before the session ended in early June. NY PSC, with assistance from PSI, launched a municipal tool kit to simplify the process for local governments to support the packaging legislation, and continued to collaborate with a growing coalition of supporters that have been working together since 2019 to champion packaging EPR for NYS. If passed, packaging EPR will reduce waste, modernize the recycling system, reduce consumer confusion about recycling, generate green jobs, and provide immense cost savings for local governments. This legislation will continue to be a top priority for NY PSC and our collaborators, which include Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment, the New York League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Advocates NY, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the NY State Association of Counties, PSI, and others.
New York State News
NY Federation Conference Features NY PSC Speakers on EPR
The 2022 NY Federation Conference returned to the Sagamore on Lake George. Two EPR panels featured speakers from NYPSC, DSNY, NYLCV, PSI and others. The mood was ebullient at the New York Federation Conference where colleagues and friends reconvened after a two-year COVID hiatus. As New York’s packaging EPR bill was being deliberated in Albany, NYPSC Treasurer Resa Dimino facilitated a robust and lively discussion of packaging EPR that covered key components of the legislation, debunked myths and fears about packaging EPR, and emphasized the need for collaboration among EPR advocates. Speakers included NYPSC Board member Kate Kitchener of the New York City Department of Sanitation, Abbie Webb of Casella Waste Systems, Julie Tighe of New York League of Conservation Voters, Dereth Glance the Deputy Commissioner of the NY Department of Environmental Conservation, and Ashley Dougherty of the NYS Executive Chamber. A second panel on EPR, facilitated by NYPSC Chair Dawn Timm, included an update from New York PaintCare program coordinator Sandra Torres Vera about the successful May soft launch and steady implementation progress of the New York PaintCare program. Todd Ellis of Call2Recycle provided an overview of batteries stewardship, with an emphasis on the ways that Call2Recycle is investing in education, labeling, and fire suppression packaging to boost battery recycling while addressing fire and safety concerns. Amanda Nicholson of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) closed the session with an overview of national EPR trends across key product areas, including mattresses, carpet, solar panels, gas cylinders, electronics, and HHW.
DEC Announces $4.5 Million for New Center at University at Buffalo to Focus on Plastics Recycling
Building on academic partnerships between NY DEC and the SUNY system centered on developing waste reduction and recycling solutions, this new initiative is focused on the impacts of plastics and how to increase plastics recycling. SUNY Buffalo’s new Center for Plastic Recycling Research and Innovation will research the development of secondary recyclable markets and how to streamline recycling processes for lower-grade plastics, among other challenges. Read more.
First Right to Repair Act passes both Assembly and Senate in New York
The NY Senate and Assembly passed the Digital Fair Repair Act at the tail end of the 2021-2022 Legislative Session. The bill requires Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to make schematics, parts, and tools needed for the repair of digital electronic equipment available to any consumer or repair business. The bill also requires OEMs to make documentation and tools needed for unlocking security related functions available as well. The bill does not cover agricultural equipment, home appliances, or gaming consoles. Read more.
National Product Stewardship Updates
Six New EPR Laws Pass in 2022
As of June 2022, six state legislatures have passed bills to establish EPR programs, with five signed into law by state governors. That’s officially the most EPR laws passed in nearly a decade. So far in 2022, the following state legislatures have passed EPR bills to enact new programs: carpet EPR in New York (see details above), gas cylinders EPR in Connecticut, mattress EPR in Oregon, packaging EPR in Colorado and California, and pharmaceuticals EPR in Illinois. Each of these was built on or significantly influenced by policy models developed by the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), NYPSC’s fiscal sponsor, in collaboration with their government members (including in New York State), partners, and other EPR experts. These successes have made 2022 a record-setting year, with the most EPR laws passed since 2013. Here’s a round-up of the new EPR programs passed around the country this year:
Oregon: Mattresses. On March 24, 2022, Oregon became the fourth U.S. state to enact a law establishing a statewide mattress recycling program. The law, signed by Gov. Kate Brown and championed by Sen. James Manning Jr., requires mattress manufacturers to set up and operate a recycling program, overseen by the state, that makes it easy for consumers to recycle their unwanted mattresses. Such programs already exist in California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, and together have collected more than 10 million mattresses, diverting 380 million pounds of steel, foam, fiber, and wood from landfills. OR’s new law, which was developed jointly by Oregon DEQ, PSI, and the mattress industry, builds on lessons learned from existing programs, such as the need for reapproval of the program plan every five years (see below for news on updates to CA’s program) and offers a new and improved model for mattress EPR. Learn more.
Connecticut: Gas Cylinders. CT passed the first-ever EPR law for gas cylinders this year, which was signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont on May 10, 2022. Even though refillable versions are available, many gas cylinders – such as those found in camping stoves and barbecues – end up as trash. The smallest amount of residual propane can cause explosions and fires, which is why these cylinders are typically rejected by recyclers despite being made of valuable materials. CT’s new EPR law, which had bipartisan support, was sponsored by Representative Joe Gresko and Senator Christine Cohen with leadership support from the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority and the Connecticut Product Stewardship Council, with bill development support from PSI. The law requires gas cylinder producers to ensure every community in CT has free, convenient access to safe gas cylinder recovery by January 1, 2024. Learn more.
Colorado: Packaging and Paper Products. This year, Colorado joined Maine and Oregon when Governor Jared Polis signed the Producer Responsibility Program For Recycling Act into law on June 3, 2022. The legislation was spearheaded by Representative Lisa Cutter and Senators Julie Gonzales and Kevin Priola and was developed by Recycle Colorado in collaboration with supportive stakeholders and with technical support from PSI. Once up and running, the program, which covers consumer-facing packaging, most printed and writing paper, and single-use food serviceware products, will be fully funded and managed by producers. The bill enjoyed widespread support from local governments, recyclers, environmental groups, and consumer brands. Learn more.
California: Packaging and Single-Use Food Serviceware. On June 30, 2022, California became the fourth state in the nation to pass a packaging EPR law, sponsored by Senator Ben Allen. After more than three years of negotiations and the threat of a ballot initiative taxing plastic packaging, California stakeholders successfully negotiated the Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act. The new law includes targets for recycling and source reduction, and bans expanded polystyrene food serviceware unless it can demonstrate increasingly high recycling rates. The law also requires producers to pay $500 million per year, beginning in 2027 and extending for a decade, into a new California Plastic Pollution Mitigation Fund managed by the state for environmental restoration and to mitigate environmental justice and public health impacts from plastics. Learn more.
Illinois: Pharmaceuticals. In April, the IL General Assembly passed the Drug Take-Back Act, which requires drug manufacturers to pay for and run a statewide take-back program. The Act was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker on June 10, 2022, and was developed jointly by PSI, the IL Product Stewardship Council, and the IL Environmental Council. The legislation, sponsored by Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Senator Laura Fine, will ensure every community in IL has free, convenient access to safe drug disposal beginning January 1, 2024. Learn more.
California’s Carpet EPR Program Undergoes Overhaul
CalRecycle directed CARE to update its stewardship plan for carpet EPR in early 2022. In early 2022, after review of CARE’s 2020 annual report, CalRecycle found that the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) did not meet its statutory requirements and goals for recycling rate, recycled output, collection convenience, and reuse of post-consumer carpet. As a result, CalRecycle referred CARE for potential enforcement and CARE submitted a revised proposal for differential assessments – the mechanism for determining fees paid into the program by carpet producers. On April 22, CalRecycle approved CARE’s updated Differential Assessment Approach, which now accounts for the type of carpet material and the financial burden that a carpet material has on the stewardship program. In May, CalRecycle also approved updated carpet stewardship program goals for 2023 to 2027. The approved goals include recycling rates, recycling efficiency, collection rates, public access to drop-off sites, and flooring proximity to drop-off sites. Learn more at CalRecycle’s Carpet Stewardship Program Goals.
Mattress EPR Program in California Also Sees Updates
The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) Amended its California Mattress Stewardship Plan for the first time since its establishment in 2015. This spring, the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) amended its California mattress recovery and recycling plan. The new plan updates performance goals and methodologies to reflect actual collection, transportation, and recycling data gathered since the program was first implemented, rather than the estimates included in the original plan. Other changes include the addition of initiatives that MRC has implemented since the inception of the original plan, such as research, pilot projects, and engagement strategies. MRC’s updated plan was deemed complete by CalRecycle in May 2022, but CalRecycle has until July 25, 2022, to approve, disapprove, or conditionally approve the plan.
South Carolina Amends E-Waste EPR Law
South Carolina’s e-waste recycling law, which was set to sunset in 2023, has been amended, with sunset extended to 2029 plus some improvements. Starting in 2022 and with support from South Carolina SWANA and PSI, program stakeholders met to consider needed changes to the E-Cycles program before it expired. Many of the desired improvements were lost during the legislative session, but the program did see gains towards a more robust convenience standard. The amendment retained a sunset for 2029, but also requires the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to convene stakeholders in 2026 to evaluate the program and make recommendations for the future of SC E-Cycles. Learn more.
Events, Webinars, and Conferences
NYSAR3 Annual Recycling Conference & Trade Show | Nov 14-16, 2022. The 33rd Annual Conference will be moving forward as a hybrid event, offering both virtual and in-person attendance options at the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, NY. Hybrid – Virtual & In-Person. Learn More & Register | Become a Sponsor
PSI Webinar | EPR Masterclass: Can EPR Change Packaging Design?
In Europe, packaging EPR has been in operation for 35 years, reducing waste and invigorating stagnant recycling rates to more than 70%. But have these EPR programs — which are currently integrating tools like eco-modulated fees — led to the design of more sustainable consumer packaging? During our June 7th webinar, PSI facilitated a robust discussion among experts across Europe to find out, including Karen van de Stadt (KIDV), Gloria Gabellini (PepsiCo), Feliks Bezati (Mars), and Jürgen Dornheim (Procter & Gamble).
PSI Workshop | 2022 Missouri Paint Stewardship Workshop
In this two-hour workshop, PSI and the Missouri Product Stewardship Council discuss HB 2852 (a 2022 state bill for paint), issues and costs associated with leftover paint management, and the logistics of paint stewardship programs.
Support the NY PSC
New York’s extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws for electronics, thermostats, rechargeable batteries, pharmaceuticals, and paint are saving local governments millions of dollars in waste management costs each year by making manufacturers responsible for the materials they sell. Please consider reinvesting that savings to support the NY PSC. Become a sponsor with a donation today.
In 2022 we saw unprecedented action on EPR and product stewardship in New York – the NY PSC led the way in supporting the most EPR bills introduced in any state in the country and celebrated the passage of the first carpet EPR bill to include Astroturf. We are transforming solid waste management for the better, and momentum is only growing. With your generous contribution, NYPSC can push forward with support to establish EPR for packaging; modernize our battery EPR program; advocate for statewide solar panel EPR; and develop a framework for introducing EPR for mattresses, textiles, and other materials streams.
Please consider demonstrating your support with a sponsorship today.
What We’re Reading
- “Giving New Life to Recycling Policy,” Council of State Governments Midwest Chapter
- “Alberta Set to Make Companies Pay Up on Plastics,” The Sprawl
- “Microplastics are in our bodies. How much do they harm us?” National Geographic
- “California AG to investigate fossil fuel firms for plastic pollution,” The Hill
- “Missouri Demonstrates Advantages of Recycled Paint at Various State Sites,” Paint & Coatings Industry Magazine
- “Washingtonians Drop Off 581,363 Gallons of Paint in First Nine Months of Recycling Program,” PaintCare
- “DEC Launches New Paint Recycling Program to Help Consumers and Businesses Safely Dispose of Leftover Paint,” NY DEC
On New York’s New Carpet EPR Program:
- “New York state legislature passes carpet EPR bill,” Recycling Today
E-Waste, Batteries & Solar:
- “Why renewable energy infrastructure needs to be built for a circular economy,” Ellen MacArthur Foundation
- “SOLARCYCLE Raises $6.6 Million Seed Round to Rapidly Accelerate Buildout of Advanced Recycling Platform for the Solar Industry,” Closed Loop Partners
- “Here’s how local leaders feel about one state program,” E-Scrap News
- “Apple opens Self Service Repair to US iPhone users,” TechCrunch
- “Call2Recycle Canada and Save-On-Foods Partner to Increase Battery Recycling and Protect the Environment,” Financial Post
- “Facilitating a Circular Economy for Textiles: Workshop Report,” National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Commerce
- “How Much Do Things Really Cost?” The New Yorker
Where We’re Going
Packaging and Batteries: Top Priorities for 2023.
Over the summer, NYPSC will regroup and recap this year’s jam-packed legislative session and plan for another busy year in 2023. Our top priorities will be to continue pushing for packaging EPR and to ramp up efforts in support of battery EPR. These two programs are critically important for the health of New York’s communities, environment, and economy and will save local governments millions of dollars in waste management and recycling costs each year. We’re committed to making it easier than ever to support these bills in 2023 by expanding our municipal tool kit and strengthening our coalition of EPR advocates. If you’d like to support these efforts, please consider donating to NYPSC!