Colorado Passes Packaging EPR Law
Colorado is joining Maine and Oregon on the short list of US states to pass EPR packaging legislation. Colorado HB22-1355 passed the state senate in May and was signed into law in early June. The bill aims to increase the state’s recycling rate from 15% to 80% through a program that will be fully funded by producers.
The primary obligated producers are product brand holders selling primary/sales packaging materials and paper products, though there is a small producer exemption. Producers are required to appoint a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) or establish an approved individual plan by the first program deadline in January 2025.
Accerio is monitoring for decisions on details like exact targets, approved PRO’s, and costs; so please reach out if you sell products into Colorado to stay updated on program development.
An Introduction to European Eco-Modulation
Eco-modulation (part of the eco-design concept) penalizes the use of materials that are less environmentally friendly and rewards the use of those with lesser environmental impacts. Its general goal is to promote eco-design approaches with producers on issues like waste prevention, reduction of highly polluting materials , and increased product lifespan, all leading to a more circular economy. Then through the eco-modulation fee structure of collective organizations, producers receive a return on investment for their eco-design efforts.
The first European country to introduce this concept was France. However, it has been gradually introduced in other EU Member States and now at the EU level. In January 2023, the EU Eco-Modulation Directive will come into force. Although this legislation is not yet in force, several EU countries have begun implementation of their own eco-modulation models.
- Germany: Collectives are obligated to charge lower fees for packaging consisting of more recyclable materials.
- Netherlands: There is an option to apply for a fee discount for packaging containing plastic that has higher recyclability or residual value.
- UK: The authority is considering eco-modulations in the upcoming review of WEEE and Packaging legislation. Additionally, a new plastic packaging tax has been implemented for plastic packaging containing < 30% recycled content.
- Czech Republic: Provisions for Eco-Modulation are in the national legislation; however, they are not yet implemented by collective organizations.
- Estonia: From 2023, the collective organizations will modify the fees for packaging containing one material vs. composite materials (multilayered packaging).
Deadline for Germany Packaging Registration
The packaging legislation in Germany was revised in 2021 (an article on the topic can be viewed here), with an important upcoming implementation date for all obligated producers of packaging. From July 2022 onwards, all producers need to be registered at the packaging authority Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister.
Registration is now also required for packaging that ends up in purely industrial environments and transport packaging, while the prior legislation only required registration for packaging subject to system (scheme) participation. Producers of ‘non-scheme packaging’ must also maintain records of packaging taken back, though regular reporting to the authority is not required.
The registrations for non-scheme packaging can be completed now. Producers who are already registered with Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister and a scheme are encouraged to assess if they are selling non-scheme packaging as well. In that case, the existing registration at the authority must be updated to indicate additional packaging types.
United Kingdom Packaging EPR Reform
The UK Packaging EPR legislation, that has been in force since 1997, fails to cover the full costs of disposing of packaging waste. A new EPR legislation, currently under consultation, aims to transfer the full cost of treating household packaging to the producers. This would make the producer responsible for the costs of their packaging throughout its life cycle, also known as the “polluter pays” principle. For packaging waste arising from businesses, producers will be responsible for contributing to a portion of the costs associated with recycling it when it becomes waste, through purchasing price-variable packaging recycling evidence (PRNs) in line with their business waste recycling obligation.
The new EPR system will obligate producers of household packaging to:
- Meet new recycling targets
- Pay higher fees for less sustainable packaging
- Use clear unambiguous recyclability labelling to help consumers sort waste
Through these requirements, the draft legislation would encourage producers to reduce packaging material usage and use a higher percentage of recyclable packaging. The law is expected to come into force in 2023 and will impact companies with a UK presence who place obligated packaging on the UK market.