A hearing on three bills regarding manufacturer funded recycling programs will take place in the Massachusetts State Legislature from 1-5pm on June 22. Passing these bills on extended producer responsibility (EPR) for paint, mattresses, packaging, and paper would help defray the cost of disposing of or recycling these items that cities and towns in Massachusetts currently bear. It would also set a precedent in Massachusetts for a better way to manage the items that are thrown away each year. The three bills are:
- Paint EPR H.938 – this bill is the most likely to get passed this session, it has support from the paint industry and 10 successful programs nationwide, including neighboring states of CT, RI, VT, and ME.
- Mattress EPR S.569 – this bill would ensure that mattresses are recycled in Massachusetts.
- Packaging & Paper Products EPR H.878/S.517/S.610 – this bill would reimburse municipalities for their recycling programs.
We need you to:
- submit written testimony by midnight on June 22. You can use this template to support all three bills or you can simply write, “I’m in favor of each of the bills because they are beneficial to the environment.” Send by 11:59pm on Tuesday, June 22 to JointCommittee.Environment@malegislature.gov.
- contact your legislator and tell them you strongly support the three EPR bills because cities and towns should not have to bear all the cost of recycling products. You can find your state legislator here.
What is Extended Producer Responsibility?
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation makes manufacturers have a stake in recycling the products and packaging they generate. An EPR bill would create a fund to cover the cost of recycling and incentivize companies to make their packaging more recyclable.
Why is EPR needed?
Municipalities have little power to control the barrage of materials flooding the Commonwealth but are responsible for managing recycling and disposal.
- Recent fluctuations in the recycling market have drastically increased costs for municipalities, which now pay tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
- A growing percentage of packaging waste is plastic – 40 percent of all plastic production is used for packaging. However, just 10 percent of all plastic produced is recycled. The rest is burned, buried in landfills, or lost in the environment, contributing to air and water pollution, the formation of microplastics, and a growing litter crisis in our oceans.
- Companies that sell packaged products do not have an incentive to design packaging so that it can be recycled, or to use recycled content in their manufacture. While producers benefit from wrapping their products in disposable materials, local taxpayers are responsible for cleaning up litter and paying for trash and recycling, regardless of whether they purchased the products.
I’ve never heard of EPR–is this a new idea?
Extended Producer Responsibility has been tested and proven in countries all over the world.
- Successful product stewardship programs have transformed waste management in the EU, Canada, Israel, Brazil, Chile, India and Russia.
- California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island already have EPR legislation for the recycling of mattresses. 10 states nationwide have laws on recycling paint. Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York are joining together to call for the positive transformation that an EPR program would bring to not just Massachusetts, but the entire Northeast region.