The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) and Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) have announced the publication of its Model Minimum Postconsumer Recycled Content Requirements for Plastic Products and Packaging Legislation. This model is the result of two years’ worth of work by a group of state recycling officials from the Northeast and incorporates many suggestions received from 36 organizations and individuals during a public comment period in early 2022.
While the model legislation does not reflect the specific views of NERC, NEWMOA or their respective members, it’s a best effort to provide a basis for state legislation to further the use of postconsumer resin, or PCR, in plastic products and packaging.
This model bill would require producers of covered plastic products and packaging to use a specified minimum amount of PCR , phased in over time. The covered plastic packaging and products include single-use bags; single-use containers used for food, beverages, household cleaning and personal care products; and rigid plastic containers. This model does not address all types of plastic products and packaging.
The model’s legislative strategy encourages a circular economy in plastics. The other benefits of mandating minimum PCR content in plastic products and packaging include conservation of resources, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts from producing plastics products from petroleum, strengthened domestic markets for products made with postconsumer plastics and increased stability in the plastic scrap markets.
As nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, neither NERC nor NEWMOA say they will lobby for this model legislation. It is intended as a tool for interested organizations and legislators to consider when examining opportunities for the use of minimum PCR content legislation and implementation.