Current & Upcoming USA Packaging Laws
2021 was a very active year for the development of EPR packaging laws across the United States. Maine became the first state to pass an EPR packaging law in July of 2021. Maine is now entering a two-year rule making process to establish the program itself. The law obligates both local and foreign brand owners, and importers who are importing on behalf of foreign brand owners. Obligated companies who do not qualify for the small producer exemption will be required to either implement a takeback and recycling program or join the Packaging Stewardship Program once it is approved by the State for all obligated packaging materials.
Just one month later, Oregon passed the Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act in August 2021. Oregon’s law comes into force in July 2025, obligating local and foreign brand owners, licensees of brands, and importers who import on behalf of foreign brand owners. Oregon’s scope of obligated materials and small producer exemptions are similar to Maine’s; however, Oregon has a more aggressive timeline for implementation and higher fines for non-compliance.
Currently there are 10 other states with draft EPR packaging legislation, mostly under review by state legislators. We encourage all producers selling to US states to reach out to Accerio for state-level assessments of current WEEE, battery, and packaging obligations.
Draft Packaging Law in Spain
To update their 20-year-old packaging waste regime, Spain has introduced a draft Royal Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste. If implemented, the Royal Decree will repeal the existing legislation, replacing it with requirements in line with EU Directive 2018/52 of 30 May 2018, which modified Directive 94/62/CE on packaging and packaging waste to incorporate principles of circular economy and reuse of packaging. Additionally, the Decree will apply the content of EU Directive 2019/904 of 5 June 2019 (SUP Directive) on single use plastic packaging and the reduction on the impact of these products in the environment. The new regime will establish an EPR program for all packaging materials & sectors, as well as a deposit, refund, and return system for all packaging and packaging waste.
For obligated producers, compliance can be direct with the national authority or through a collective organization. The fee structure under collective compliance includes eco-modulations following circular economy criteria, including penalties for materials that do not meet the efficiency criteria.
The public consultation period ran through October 2021, followed by introduction of the draft to Spanish Parliament for discussion and approval. Please contact us for more information on compliance options and the provisions of the draft Decree. Accerio will contact impacted clients once the Decree is approved.
New Waste Act in Finland
Beginning in July of 2021, the obligated producer definition expanded in Finland’s new Waste Act to all foreign producers, including foreign producers and distance sellers of batteries and packaging. Before the reform, foreign producers were only obligated under the WEEE legislation. Additionally, Foreign producers can now voluntarily take over the EPR obligations of their Finnish resellers and distributors.
The Act also includes stricter provisions on products themselves, with requirements for safety, quality, and sustainability during the manufacturing process. For example, the producer must ensure that products do not have excessive or unnecessary packaging. And considerations must be taken during the design phase, such as ensuring that EEE containing integrated batteries/accumulators can be easily removed, to encourage a longer lifespan for devices.
If your company is selling into Finland, please contact us to begin an assessment and the registration process. The first deadline for producer registrations is rapidly approaching at the end of 2021.