Legislative Updates – what is the latest?

It has been a tumultuous year for regulations addressing foodservice packaging. FPI has tracked 395 unique bills this year. These proposed regulations have ranged from state-level purchasing program requirements, to all out bans, and finally some iterations of an extended producer responsibility program. This year we saw policies related to single-use bags comprising 31 percent of the total legislation; policies related to bans or mandates comprised 21 percent; policies related to polystyrene comprised 17 percent; and, green chemistry legislation grew in activity and now represented seven percent of policies introduced. The states with the most activity represented New York (56 bills), New Jersey (47), Massachusetts (38), Connecticut (35), Hawaii (28) and California (17). However, we saw a lot more activity in states with 45 different states introducing some type of policy directed at foodservice packaging.

There was a tremendous amount of regulatory activity among local governments in the U.S. and Canada. We have seen dozens of municipalities pass policy related to foodservice packaging. These policies ranged from directing a state or provincial government to study a specific issue, to an outright ban of specific products. Much of the local activity was focused on municipalities that are adjacent to a lake, river, or ocean.  FPI offers its members detailed tracking of local ordinances in the U.S. and Canada.

In this blog post we will look at passed regulations at the state-level:

Delaware HB 130:  bans large stores (over 7000 sq ft) and chain stores (3 or more locations and each over 3000 sq ft) from providing single-use plastic bags to customers at the point of sale. Allows local governments to adopt more stringent requirements, making requirements applicable to stores over 500 sq ft. Restaurants are excluded from this legislation.

Illinois HB 3068:  creates the Statewide Materials Management Advisory Committee. Directs the Committee to study and make recommendations for expanding waste reduction, recycling, reuse, and composting at the state and county level. Requires report by July 1, 2021, which should include recommended diversion rates that are achievable by 2025, 2030, and 2035.

Maine LD 1431:  requires the Dept. of Environmental Protection to develop proposed legislation establishing an extended producer responsibility law for packaging in the State. Provides that the proposal must include a definition of “packaging” that covers, at a minimum, materials used to wrap or protect consumer goods, including food and personal care products, and containers and packaging used in the shipping, storage, protection and marketing of consumer products.

Maine LD 1433:  bans sale of food packaging containing intentionally-added phthalates or PFAS. Provides that the prohibition on PFAS may not take effect until 2 years following DEP determination that a safer alternative is available. Exempts food or beverage product manufacturers that have annual sales less than $1 billion. Authorizes the DEP to designate additional chemicals of concern in food packaging and to prohibit the sale of food packaging containing such chemicals if a reasonable alternative exists.

Maine LD 1532:  requires retail establishments to charge at least a 5¢ fee for each reusable bag made of plastic and for each recycled paper bag. Requires retailers that offer plastic bags to customers to also have receptacles for collection of used single-use carry-out bags made of plastic. This legislation applies to restaurants in the state.

Maryland HB 109:  bans sale of expanded polystyrene food service products by Jan. 1, 2020. Prohibits food service businesses and schools from selling or providing food in certain expanded polystyrene food service products by Jan. 1, 2020.

New York SB 1508:  bans stores from providing plastic carryout bags to customers. Allows local governments to impose fee of 5-cent fee for each paper bag distributed by stores to customers. Bags for carry-out orders are exempted from this legislation.

Oregon HB 2509:  prohibits retail establishments from providing single-use plastic bags or non-recycled paper bags to customers. Allows stores to provide recycled paper bags to customers for a 5-cent fee. Restaurants are included in this legislation.

Oregon SB 90:  prohibits a food and beverage provider or convenience store from providing a single use plastic straw unless a consumer specifically requests a straw. Allows business to offer a straw to drive-through consumer. Allows convenience stores to provide straws at unattended locations. Preempts local regulations.

Vermont SB 113:  bans stores and food service establishments from providing single-use plastic carryout bags. Paper carryout bags may be provided for a charge of 10 cents. Bans food service establishments from providing single-use plastic straws and stirrers. Bans stores and food service establishments from providing expanded polystyrene food service products. Preempts local laws.

Washington HB 1569:  bans the sale or distribution of plastic products that are labeled in a way that will imply the product will break down, biodegrade, or decompose. Provides that plastic products may not be labeled with the terms “biodegradable,” “degradable,” “decomposable,” or “oxo-degradable.” Provides that products labeled as compostable must meet ASTM or FTC standards in order to sold in Washington.

Washington SB 5397:  creates a study on the management and disposal of plastic packaging in the state, including product stewardship, with report and recommendation due to the Legislature by Nov. 2020.

The year for some legislatures is not over yet; and some of the biggest potential policies impacting the industry still have not passed, but remain in active and in-play. California is currently discussing an EPR program that would include all single-use products in the state through Senate Bill 54/Assembly Bill 1080 and Canada’s Prime Minister recently released a policy program aimed at banning single-use plastic items by 2021. FPI is actively engaged on these issues and will continue to monitor additional developments throughout the United States and Canada in 2019.

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