NYPSC Updates

New York Needs Sensible Packaging EPR Policy Yesterday

The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (S4246B / A5322B) – if enacted – would save New York local governments more than $250 million each year, expand access to recycling for all state residents, and triple stagnant recycling rates. The law would reduce contamination, create green jobs, and foster waste reduction through ambitious, yet achievable, standards. It would also lower greenhouse gas emissions from waste, helping the state to reach the climate goals established by the Climate Action Council (CAC). In fact, the CAC strongly recommends that a packaging EPR bill be enacted in New York state for that very reason.

Packaging EPR is critically important for the health of New York State’s communities, environment, and economy and chairs Harckham and Glick have expressed their desire to move these bills.  The companion bills, co-sponsored by Senator Pete Harckham and Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, are the result of three years of sustained negotiations among stakeholders deeply interested in solving New York’s recycling crisis.

Don’t let another year go by on the sidelines. Your show of support is needed to enact S4246B / A5322B this year.

NYPSC’s multi-stakeholder coalition, which includes voices from government, industry, recyclers, and environmental nonprofits alike, is advocating vehemently for passage in this session, collaborating with stakeholders from all sides as well as the bill sponsors and their staff, to address key concerns and pass the bill.

To learn more and get involved in efforts to make packaging EPR a reality for New York residents, contact Dawn Timm, Chair of NYPSC.

Battery EPR Bills, Critical for Stopping Deadly Fires, Are NYPSC Priority in 2024 

Working with Sen. Kavanagh’s staff, Call2Recycle, and PRBA, the NYPSC coalition is advancing New York State bill S643D / A7339B. The bill would amend New York State’s existing rechargeable battery EPR program to add e-mobility (e.g., e-bike) batteries to the definition of rechargeable battery, which is essential to increase safe collection and reduce the incidence of devastating fires from e-bike batteries. The bill would also permit cities with a population of 1 million, such as New York City, to enforce the legislation through its own agency. New York City residential buildings and recycling facilities alike have been struck by numerous deadly and costly fires caused by e-bike batteries in the past few years.

To address the crisis, NYPSC launched the battery initiative in fall 2022 with multi-stakeholder discussions, facilitated by the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), to develop the battery EPR amendment bill. Funded jointly by NYPSC, SMR, and other recyclers, S634 / A7339 would bring the state one step closer to comprehensive battery EPR, similar to laws established in the District of Columbia (2021), California (2022), and Washington State (2023), which include larger medium-format batteries such as those in e-mobility devices, as well as embedded batteries (like in laptops), and batteries sold with products (like toys), including single-use batteries. Most importantly – it would save lives! The New York bill has a narrow scope, since the focus is on lithium-ion e-mobility batteries. A third battery bill, A4010, would establish an EPR program for primary (single-use) batteries, akin to the one in Vermont (2014) which boosted overall battery collection 180 percent in the first year of implementation. To get involved, contact Tom Outerbridge and Scott Cassel.

Interest in EPR for Refrigerant-Containing Appliances Driven by Climate Crisis

New York bill S6105A, sponsored by Sen. Brian Kavanagh, would establish an EPR program for refrigerant-containing appliances, ensuring manufacturers recover, recycle, and properly manage all the components of the appliances, including the refrigerants. The bill builds off and expands on New York City’s 2010 law – the first ever in the U.S. to safely manage refrigerant-containing appliances. Since the New York City law passed, manufacturers have collected more than 90,000 products and saved the city more than $1.3 million.

Synthetic refrigerants like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochloro-fluorocarbons (HCFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), deplete the ozone layer and contribute to the climate crisis. They are found in major household appliances, including air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, and dehumidifiers. A growing concern about the environmental impact of refrigerants is driving efforts to replace them with safer alternatives and to ensure safe recovery, reclamation and destruction of these chemicals through EPR.  According to the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), S6105A is more extensive than the New York City law and incorporates many best practices in EPR policy, including a program plan, requirements for plan renewal, performance goals, convenience standards, an annual report, requirements for education and outreach, an advisory board, labeling stipulations, funding for agency oversight, and collection site cost coverage. These features make it a stronger, new generation EPR bill. Washington State has also introduced refrigerant-containing appliance EPR legislation this year.

Mattress Bills Return in 2024 After Taking Backseat to Packaging Last Year

Mattress EPR bill S6419C, sponsored by Senator Kavanagh in 2023, has been reintroduced this session. The bill builds on four established mattress EPR laws in Connecticut, Rhode Island, California, and most recently Oregon. Bill S6419C and a similar Assembly bill sponsored by Assemblymember Amy Paulin, A6436,  include many best practices in EPR legislation, including cost reimbursement to collection sites, plan renewal requirements, minimum convenience standards, an advisory board, and performance goals, marking an evolution from the older-style EPR models of the first three laws. Oregon’s law, passed in 2022, made similar upgrades to the older model. The two bills currently differ in terms of the program’s funding mechanism; where S6419C calls for the program to be paid for by producers through cost-internalized funding, the language of A6436 currently allows the industry flexibility to determine the funding mechanism, which could include a consumer fee.

Americans send more than 50,000 mattresses to the landfill each day. Although 90% of the components – wood, steel, cotton, and foam – are recyclable, less than 5% of mattresses are recycled, according to PSI. EPR programs redirect mattresses to refurbishment and recycling, with significant environmental and economic benefits. A 2022 lifecycle analysis of California’s mattress program found that materials reclaimed from just one mattress saved 500 gallons of water, enough energy to power a home for three days, and greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to a car driving 60 fewer miles. A statewide mattress recycling program could bring New York municipalities more than $7 million dollars in saved management costs and recycling service value, as well as jobs.

New York Fashion Act Seeks Solutions for Fastest Growing Waste Stream 

New York bill S6654 / A8078, known as the New York Fashion Act, would establish an EPR program that would divert textiles from landfills and incineration facilities, reduce contamination of New York’s land and water, and reduce the amount of climate warming methane gas into the air. If enacted, the law would require fashion brands – the producers – to be financially and managerially responsible for the collection, reuse, recycling, and safe management of textiles. The program would provide sustainable funding for collection and recycling infrastructure and technological innovation. The program would also generate jobs in the textiles reuse and recycling industries and contribute to economic growth in the state.

The fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions and more than four percent of the waste stream – although that number is growing. As textiles decompose in landfills, they emit high levels of methane gas, which is a primary contributor to global warming. And dyes and other additives can leach into soil and contaminate groundwater. Although 95% of these materials are either reusable or recyclable, only about 15% are used again. To address the problem, NYPSC began working to develop solutions for textiles recycling in 2016 when we partnered with the Product Stewardship Institute to develop the first standards for used collection for New York State. We also partnered with NYSAR3 on their textiles reduction, reuse, and recycling campaign – ReClotheNY. And in 2017, we hosted the New York Textiles Summit, again in collaboration with NYSAR3 and PSI. The summit, held at the Fashion Institute of Technology, attracted producers, retailers, recycling/reuse organizations, fashion industry representatives, state and local government, researchers, nonprofits, and consumers to discuss innovations in textiles production, recovery, recycling, and policy – including EPR. California has also introduced a textiles EPR bill this year.

NYS Recycling Needs Assessment Preliminary Report Submitted 

The Center for Sustainable Materials Management (CSMM), based at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, hired consulting firm Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) last fall to conduct the first phase of a statewide recycling system needs assessment and gap analysis for New York. The preliminary report was submitted late in 2023 and is under review by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The preliminary study will be made public this spring.

The needs assessment will compile data on how the recycling system in the state operates, including the amount and types of material collected, hauling and sorting infrastructure, and required operational and capital investment needs. The assessment is seen as a critical first step to meeting New York State’s goal to increase the recycling rate across the waste stream to 85 percent by 2050. It also builds a foundation on which a future EPR program for packaging and paper products will be built. Funding for the New York State needs assessment comes from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund and is administered through a Memorandum of Understanding between CSMM and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

NYPSC Releases 2023 Annual Report

Since 2009, NYPSC has been building a more circular and sustainable materials management system, one that engages producers in the end-of-life management of their products and packaging and reduces the financial burden on local governments. Fifteen years later, extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws in New York State for electronics, thermostats, rechargeable batteries, pharmaceuticals, paint, carpet, and solar panels are saving local governments millions of dollars in waste management costs by holding producers responsible for the materials they sell.

2023 was another banner year for EPR activity in New York State. Legislators considered 9 unique EPR bills during the session – 7 would have established new EPR programs and 2 would have amended existing programs. These bills covered six product areas: refrigerant-containing appliances, batteries, carpet, mattresses, packaging, and textiles.

Read more about our 2023 work and goals for 2024 in the NYPSC Annual Report.

New York State News

Bottle Bill Expansion Bill Seeks to Increase Deposit and Returns

S237B, the 2023 bottle deposit return legislation, has been reintroduced this year. The bill would expand New York State’s existing program to include containers such as wine, liquor and cider bottles, as well as certain soft drinks, juice, coffee, and tea containers. It would also boost the consumer deposit to 10 cents to increase the incentive for consumers to recycle and increase the handling fee to six cents. Bottle bills, especially those with higher deposit values, are highly effective at recovering beverage containers. But many laws, passed decades ago, have not been updated to increase the deposit amount in line with inflation and recycling rates have sagged. The original version of the New York State bottle bill would have also established post-consumer recycled content goals for beverage containers, an element also seen in packaging EPR bills, but that element was weeded out of later versions. Packaging EPR bills in states with bottle bills have often excluded containers covered under bottle bills from the scope of materials so that the two policies can coexist, as they do now in some countries. In states without bottle bills, beverage containers are typically covered under the EPR program.

National Product Stewardship Updates

New Jersey Enacts EV Battery Law – 1st in the Nation 

On January 8, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Battery Management Act, making it the first state with an extended producer responsibility (EPR) law for electric vehicle (EV) batteries. The legislation (A5365/S3723) requires producers of propulsion batteries to establish battery management plans that must be submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) for approval and reviewed at least every five years. Stewardship organizations must also submit plans that will achieve program goals established by the NJ DEP. Additionally, producers will be responsible for developing educational materials for consumers regarding available collection options, as well as to inform vehicle owners, repair facilities, and dismantlers about the requirement to properly manage batteries. Learn more.

Circular Action Alliance Publishes Draft Needs Assessment for Colorado Packaging EPR Law 

Circular Action Alliance, the producer responsibility organization that will implement Colorado’s producer responsibility for packaging and paper products law, recently released a draft needs assessment report that outlines various model scenarios for how the program could operate and, among other things, includes a proposed list of materials to be included in a statewide acceptance list. Public feedback on the draft report was accepted through February 19th. In March, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will present its recommended system scenario, based on the needs report, to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) in March, whose vote to approve or reject the recommended scenario will determine how implementation of the packaging EPR program proceeds. Read more.

Oregon DEQ Rejects MRC Mattress Stewardship Plan

On December 28, 2023, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) rejected the Mattress Recycling Council’s (MRC) proposed mattress stewardship plan that was submitted on September 29, 2023 for state review as required by Oregon’s mattress EPR law. The DEQ found that the plan did not meet, or needs additional information to address, the requirements of the law, including:

  • providing convenient collection by program launch;
  • public education of mattress collection options statewide;
  • anticipated annual operating budget details;
  • a mechanism to mitigate costs of managing illegally dumped mattresses; and
  • information on whether, and how, MRC will consider communities traditionally underserved by convenient waste collection services when locating a collection site.

The MRC submitted a revised plan to DEQ by the deadline, on February 26, 2024.

Events, Webinars, and Conferences


March 20, 2024 – Webinar | Tackling Tire Waste: EPR Solutions and Success Stories. Product Stewardship Institute and NERC. Register here 

April 16-18, 2024 – Buffalo, NY| 2024 NYS Organics Summit. Register here. 

May 19-22, 2024 – Bolton Landing, NY | Federation of New York Solid Waste Associations Conference and Trade Show. Early registration ends April 21. Register here. 

November 19-21, 2024 – Cooperstwon, NY | NYSAR3 35th Annual Conference and Trade Show. Save the date.

What We’re Reading

On Packaging: 

  • The Recycling Council of Alberta offers latest developments in EPR implementation in Alberta, including important dates and primary objectives of the province’s EPR regulation for single-use products, packaging, and paper products (PPP), and hazardous and special products (HSP). Read more.
  • According to a recent report from The Recycling Partnership, only 21 percent of residential recyclables are being recycled. Read more.
  • An Iowa State University study concludes that countries with established EPR for plastics and landfill bans have higher recycling rates and improved recycled product quality. Read more.  
  • A report from Ball and Eunomia Research shows that deposit return programs and EPR for packaging boosts recycling rates. Read More.
  • New research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports that cardboard and paper waste in the U.S. represents $4 billion in lost economic value. Read more.

On Batteries: 

  • A study from the National Waste and Recycling Association and Resource Recycling Systems reports an increase in catastrophic fires due to lithium-ion batteries. Read more.
  • Seattle Public Utilities, a PSI Member, has banned disposing of batteries and some electronic devices in the garbage due to increased fire risk from improper disposal. Read more.

Other Stories:  

  • PaintCare, a PSI Partner, writes in Waste Advantage Magazine about the benefits of EPR for paint, including convenient access to paint recycling, expanding best-use, and increasing access to reuse products. Read more.

Support the NYPSC

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws in New York State for electronics, thermostats, rechargeable batteries, pharmaceuticals, paint, carpet and solar panels 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 those savings to support NYPSC’s work. Become a sponsor today.

Want to know more about our work? Check out the 2023 NYPSC Annual Report.

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