2020 is an unprecedented year for the foodservice packaging industry. To-date, we have seen more regulations, ordinances, and legislation aimed at foodservice packaging than we have in any year before. These new proposals range from taxes on bags to complex extended producer responsibility schemes. Additionally, we are seeing these proposals at all levels of government, further complicating an already complex existing patchwork network of regulations. Not to mention, these proposals are occurring across the United States and Canada… they are no longer isolated to specific communities or locations.
The biggest statewide proposals to-date are:
- Maine putting forward an extended producer responsibility program.
- New York moving towards banning all “single-use” plastic items.
- Maryland looking to bring Baltimore’s single-use plastic bag ban to the statewide level.
- Washington considering a ban on expanded polystyrene and other plastic foodservice products.
California continues to hang in the balance, as we await a new draft of last year’s proposed legislation (SB 54/AB1080) around single-use products in the state. Nevertheless, CalRecycle has moved forward with aggressive regulations around single-use products in state facilities. If finalized, this regulation will ban all single-use products that are not recycled or composted at 75% of California municipalities.
Also, to be considered this fall, on the general election ballot, is a statewide initiative to ban single-use plastics. This initiative, if passed, would require the state of California to reduce single-use plastics from what is being used in 2020 by 80% over the next 10 years. Furthermore, it would require producers to be responsible for litter clean up and collection.
Washington, California, Vermont, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and others are considering potential bans on PFAS in foodservice packaging. These proposal are largely based on Washington State’s Alternative Assessment, which is on-going. The proposals range from all out bans to establishing study committees. Additionally, California SB 1335, like San Francisco will ban the use of intentionally added PFAS in foodservice packaging.
We have seen a substantial uptick in U.S. federal legislation focused on increasing recycling; banning single-use plastics; and, regulating PFAS. On February 11, 2020, Senator Udall and Senator Lowenthal formally introduced the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and a number of other Members of Congress.
We have seen an uptick in proposed legislation in Canada, post-election. The Canadian Department of Environment and Climate Change issued a draft science assessment on plastic pollution. There is a 60-day comment period on this report and it is clear that the ministers are poised to move forward with aggressive regulations on single-use plastics in Canada. The comment period will end April 1, 2020 and the government plans to have regulations in place by 2021.
As you can see our industry has its hand’s full trying to minimize supply chain disruptions, advocating for sound policy based on science, and building a successful recycling and composting infrastructure that will meet future demand and goals. We welcome communication and collaboration, so please reach out! If you are a member of the foodservice packaging industry, but haven’t already done so, please consider joining FPI – with you we can further expand our voice.