NYPSC Newsletter Fall/Winter 2022 Edition

NYPSC Updates

New E-Waste Regs Ensure Manufacturers Cover Cost of Continual Collection & Recycling

Municipal Collection Sites Won’t be Stuck with Uncovered E-Waste; Registered Entities must comply by January 1, 2023. If your municipality opted out of e-waste collection because of uncovered costs, the time to return is now. Registrations are due January 1. The new e-waste regulations, adopted February 8, 2022, clarify stakeholder obligations under the program, including manufacturers’ obligation to cover all collection and recycling costs even after minimum goals have been met. The regulations also establish rules around credits, set strong convenience standards, clarify DEC’s authority to enforce, and add an annual reporting requirement for registered collection sites, including municipalities. The new regulations include most of the changes which NYPSC recommended and steadfastly advocated to bolster the program. For the the full regulations and a summary of changes, visit the DEC website. Questions can be directed to Rebecca Vaughan, P: (518) 402-8678, E: rebecca.vaughan@dec.ny.gov.

NYPSC Continues Advocacy on Packaging EPR for 2023

NYPSC continues to lead in negotiations among stakeholders on packaging EPR.  Packaging EPR is critically important for the health of New York State’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 effective, balanced EPR bills for packaging 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!

Carpet EPR Bill Awaits the Governor’s Signature

Carpet EPR legislation (S 5027C) awaits Governor’s signature. 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 the phase-out of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been linked to developmental and reproductive disorders and cancer, from new carpet production. 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 Group, and many others. The bill was spearheaded in the legislature by Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblyman Steve Englebright. The bill has been awaiting Governor Hochul’s signature during the tight election season and NYPSC is still hopeful it will become law by the end of the calendar year. 

Modernizing New York’s Battery EPR Law On Deck for 2023

Devastating fires in New York City from lithium and lithium-ion batteries spurred recyclers in the state to seek a producer responsibility solution. Over the past two months, NYPSC board members Tom Outerbridge (SMR) and Kate Kitchener (DSNY) have led a multi-stakeholder group facilitated by PSI (Scott Cassel and Suna Bayrakal) to develop a comprehensive battery EPR bill for introduction in the 2023 legislative session. The bill will cover all single-use and rechargeable batteries, but the focus is to reduce the occurrence of costly and deadly fires from lithium and lithium-ion batteries. The group is considering the option of introducing the bill in New York City only but would prefer a statewide bill if feasible. The effort is jointly funded by NYPSC and multiple industry stakeholders. 

PaintCare Rolls Out Successfully in New York with more than 260 Drop-off Sites So Far

New York’s new paint stewardship program, operated by PaintCare, launched in May of 2022. Since then, the nonprofit stewardship organization, created and led by the paint industry, has established over 260 drop-off sites throughout the state, with paint retailers, municipalities, and reuse stores joining together to provide convenient, year-round paint recycling opportunities.

The program, which launched under the management of former NYPSC Chair Andrew Radin, continues to add additional drop-off locations to its network, making it significantly more convenient for households, schools, and businesses to responsibly recycle paint, stain, varnish, and a variety of other architectural coatings products.  PaintCare’s team of program coordinators, including Kelsey O’Toole, Michael Rieser, Sandra Vera, and Wes Baxter, are working to expand the drop-off network to further broaden paint recycling opportunities in the state

In addition to establishing convenient drop-off sites as required by the state’s paint stewardship legislation passed in 2019, PaintCare has implemented a number of other services to maximize the recovery of leftover paint, including:

  • Supporting the paint recovery costs of over 100 Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection events in 2022 resulting in reducedmunicipal costs to manage unwanted materials.
  • A Large Volume Pickup (LVP) program, offering free pickup for anyone with over 100 gallons of paint, based upon container size; over 200 such pick-ups provided to date. 
  • Supporting the costs of several paint-only collection events recently held in Central NY and in the Capital District.

“We’ve met our statutory goal to establish a paint drop-off site within 15 miles of 90% of the NYS population and are striving to achieve the convenience requirement of a drop off site for every 50,000 people in an Urbanized Area,” said Radin. “The team is also working to get the word out, resulting in some great local news coverage across the state, and a public education effort set to launch in early 2023,” he added.

In addition to already diverting hundreds of thousands of gallons of paint from the waste stream and reducing public costs for waste management, the PaintCare program is spurring growth in the recycled paint manufacturing industry in the U.S. Green Sheen and Empire Recycled Paint are two new paint reprocessing facilities that have come online in NY State in the wake of the Post Consumer Paint Stewardship Law.

The New York program became the 11th in the country when the Paint Stewardship Act passed in 2019, thanks to years of steadfast advocacy from NYPSC and its coalition. PaintCare manages leftover paint in 10 states and the District of Columbia, which enacted paint stewardship laws based on the consensus model developed through a national dialogue facilitated by the Product Stewardship Institute. Visit PaintCare’s website to learn more about the program.  

New York State News

NYS DEC Submits Analysis and Recommendations for the Mercury Thermostat Collection Act to the Governor and the Legislature

DEC’s recommendations for the thermostat EPR program include extending the program beyond January 2024 and adding a financial incentive. The recommendations, which were informed by an evaluation conducted by the New York Center for Sustainable Materials Management (CSMM) for the DEC, also include manufacturer funding to cover DEC oversight costs, increased outreach and education, and increased number, diversity, and convenience of collection locations – all of which are best practices for EPR programs. The CSMM report recommended extending the program to at least 2045 when about 84% of thermostats would be out of service, and the DEC has recommended running the program indefinitely or at least extending the sunset date. The CSMM report also estimates that the program run by the Thermostat Recycling Corporation captures only 7% of the mercury thermostats coming off walls. High performing programs in Maine and Vermont saw significant increases in collection volumes when they implemented financial incentives as low as $5 per thermostat, and studies by others including PSI indicate financial incentives would increase collection. Both DEC and CSMM also emphasized the need for more collection locations and more education and outreach to boost collection. For more information, read DEC’s recommendations to the legislature and CSMM’s report.

New York State Ban on PFAS in Food Packaging Goes into Effect December 31, 2022

Starting December 31, food packaging with intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) will be prohibited from being sold or distributed in New York State. PFAS are human-made chemicals used in many products, including food packaging, to provide stain resistance, waterproofing, grease-proofing, and leak-proofing. PFAS do not occur naturally. The new law prohibits the sale or distribution of any packaging made of paper, paperboard, or other plant-derived materials that are intended for direct contact with food and have intentionally added PFAS to ensure the performance of the packaging (e.g., keep the food container from leaking). Products that are certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute or CMA and food service ware that is GreenScreen certified are most likely PFAS free and therefore compliant with the law. But retailers and food service establishments must obtain signed certificates of compliance from manufacturers or distributors to demonstrate that the products they are using comply with the law. No products with intentionally added PFAS may be used after December 31 of this year. DEC has a handy flow chart on how to determine if the packaging your using needs to comply. You can learn more on the DEC website

Center For Sustainable Materials Management Launches Website

Housed at SUNY College of Environmental Forestry, and in collaboration with Syracuse University, the Center for Sustainable Materials Management is working to bring together people and organizations to innovate the way materials are managed in New York. The Center for Sustainable Materials Management is focused on the following:

National Product Stewardship Updates

EPA Releases Grants for Recycling Infrastructure and Education on America Recycles Day

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law gave EPA more funding than ever before to boost the country’s recycling infrastructure; December 15 and January 16 deadlines for applications coming up. EPA will distribute $275 million over 5 years to states, political jurisdictions, and tribes through the SWIFR (Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling) program. In 2023, $30 million in noncompetitive funds will go to states and territories for statewide plans, to strengthen comprehensive data collection initiatives, and to support state initiatives – including extended producer responsibility. States must notify EPA of their intent to accept the funds by December 15. Additional competitive grants for political subdivisions and tribes (coming soon) and Recycling Outreach and Education (REO) grants (which are open to a wider array of applicants) are due January 16 through grants.gov. For more information, sign up for EPA’s webinars on these funding opportunities. Applications for SWIFR and REO grants are on grants.gov.

Batteries & Electronics Laws Pass in California

In September, Governor Gavin Newsom signed California’s Responsible Battery Recycling Act of 2022 (AB 2440). The bill, which was championed by the California Product Stewardship Council and Californians Against Waste includes both primary and rechargeable batteries, strong collection convenience standards and performance goals, comprehensive education and outreach requirements, and aspects that seek to advance equity in battery stewardship. Meanwhile, AB 2440’s companion bill, SB 1215, had its EPR elements removed and now amends California’s existing electronics recycling law to include batteries “embedded” in products and not designed to be easily removed; it was also signed into law.

In Oregon, Rulemaking on new Mattress EPR Law Begins December 8

Stewardship plans are due by October 1, 2023 and implementation is expected in 2024. Oregon’s new mattress law, which was enacted on June 3, 2022, aims to increase mattress recycling, establish convenient locations in every county for residents to drop off their mattresses, reduce illegal dumping, and create recycling-sector jobs. The program will be funded by a small assessment collected at retail sales, as noted in DEQ’s fact sheet. Oregon is the fourth state to enact mattress EPR legislation, joining Connecticut, Rhode Island, and California. All four laws are based on a model developed by the PSI, but Oregon’s law was modernized to incorporate new best practices for EPR through negotiation between DEQ, the industry, PSI and other key stakeholders. In Massachusetts, where a landfill ban on mattresses took effect November 1, legislators have also introduced mattress EPR legislation (S 2922/H 4852, S 569, H 988) that builds on this updated model. Over the next few months, Oregon DEQ will hold a series of meetings to gather public input on rules for the program. More information on the rulemaking process and on the program can be found on DEQ’s mattress recycling program webpage

On November 18, CalRecycle disapproved CARE’s California Carpet Stewardship Plan 2023-2027

The agency determined that CARE’s plan failed to fully meet the requirements of the plan in areas around goals and financial incentives. The full CalRecycle response can be found on the agency’s Carpet Management webpage. CARE has up to 60 days to revise and resubmit its plan. CARE’s contingency plan becomes effective January 1, 2023. Differential assessments (the fees carpet producers pay into the program) are expected to increase in the new year, replacing rates that went into effect on April 1, 2022. Assessments are lower for carpet that has higher post-consumer recycled content. In 2021, CARE achieved a carpet recycling rate of 27.9%; by 2045, CARE must meet a 45% recycling rate per CalRecycle’s established goals. Learn more at CalRecycle’s Carpet Stewardship Program Goals.

Events, Webinars, and Conferences

New York Federation of Solid Waste Associations Conference & Trade Show| May 21-24, 2023

The annual conference will feature 2 ½ days of presentations, over 75 technical sessions, recreational activities and more at the luxurious Sagamore resort in the Adirondack Mountains. Registration opens December 16. Learn More | Become a Sponsor

NAHMMA Webinar Series: Lithium-Ion Batteries | through February 23

Join NAHMMA for this series on all things batteries, from EV’s to EPR, embedded batteries in electronics, and more. Register or watch the recordings of the ones you missed.

U.S. Product Stewardship Forum | September 11-14, 2023 in Portland, Oregon

Join PSI and over 200 leaders from state, local, and tribal governments, private industry, academic institutions, and environmental organizations at PSI’s 2023 U.S. Product Stewardship Forum, the only conference focused on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the U.S. PSI brings together globally recognized experts to present information on trends in EPR policy and programs, including recycling technologies, eco-modulated fees, reuse and source reduction, zero waste, global equity, toxics, and more. Now is the time for producer responsibility. Don’t miss out. Registration coming soon.

On-Demand Webinars

PSI Webinar | EPR Masterclass: Chemical Recycling

Free recording available Government policy makers tasked with passing legislation or issuing permits for chemical recycling projects lack criteria to assess their economic, environmental, and human health impacts. In this webinar, experts from the Oregon DEQ, Closed Loop Partners, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Germany’s Green Dot program (Der Grune Punkt), the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), and the Connecticut DEEP discuss the wide range of technologies that fall under the chemical recycling umbrella and consider criteria to determine which, if any, can support a sustainable economy, prevent waste and pollution, and curb greenhouse gas emissions. The webinar is accompanied by PSI’s new report, Making Sense of “Chemical Recycling”, as well as reports from NRDC, Closed Loop Partners, Oregon DEQ, and AMI

PSI Webinar | EPR Masterclass: Compostable Packaging

Free recording available

Experts from the Biodegradable Products Institute, Biorepack, Éco Entreprises Québec, Novolex, and Cruz Foam discuss the opportunities and challenges of compostable plastics, including achieving clarity on definitions and labeling, addressing materials in packaging EPR laws, how EPR funding can be used to create new infrastructure for compostable plastics, and strategies for best managing these materials in a rapidly evolving industry.

Support NYPSC

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 those savings to support NYPSC’s work. Become a sponsor today.

What We’re Reading

On Packaging:

On E-Waste and Batteries:

On Mattresses: