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  • Writer's pictureVik F.

New York State’s Packaging Revolution

New York State is on the brink of a significant change with the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act. This proposed legislation could profoundly impact how plastic packaging is managed, introducing stringent recycling mandates and extended producer responsibility (EPR).



EPR, originally from the EU, holds manufacturers accountable for their products throughout their lifecycle, particularly at the end. This means companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo must create efficient systems to collect and recycle the waste generated by their products. By shifting financial and logistical burdens from municipalities and taxpayers to the producers, EPR ensures that companies take responsibility for the waste they produce.


Plastic waste is a major environmental issue in New York, making up 14% of the state’s solid waste stream. The proposed bill aims to address this by setting ambitious targets for packaging reduction and recycling. Companies must register with a Packaging Reduction Organization (PRO) and develop plans to reduce and recycle packaging materials. The bill targets a 25% reduction in single-use plastic packaging by 2025, escalating to 50% by 2030. Additionally, it mandates that packaging contain at least 30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content by 2025, increasing to 50% by 2030.


Manufacturers will be responsible for the entire lifecycle of their packaging. This includes financial support for recycling infrastructure, implementation of take-back schemes, and annual reporting on their packaging’s market presence, recycling rates, and waste reduction efforts. The bill also aims to reduce toxic substances in packaging materials, targeting the elimination of 15 toxic substances such as PFAS, phthalates, and heavy metals.


Compared to other U.S. EPR laws, New York’s proposed bill includes more stringent measures, aggressive reduction targets, and robust enforcement mechanisms. For instance, while California mandates a 25% reduction in single-use plastic packaging by 2030, New York aims for the same reduction by 2025 and 50% by 2030. The bill also requires manufacturers to manage the entire lifecycle of their packaging, a requirement not present in California’s law.


The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act has strong support from environmental advocates and lawmakers, with over 200 organizations backing the bill. The next steps involve moving the bill through the Assembly and Senate, followed by the governor’s approval. However, it faces opposition from plastic industry lobbyists who argue that the bill could increase costs for consumers and businesses.


If passed, the new law will significantly impact major consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands like Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble. These companies will need to rethink their packaging strategies, increase the use of recycled materials, and ensure their packaging is recyclable. Brands must invest in sustainable packaging solutions, establish take-back schemes, and collaborate with recycling programs to manage their packaging waste. While these changes will incur costs, they will also allow brands to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.


New York’s legislation represents a critical step forward for the packaging industry. For too long, manufacturers have produced vast amounts of plastic waste without taking responsibility for its environmental impact. The bill forces manufacturers to make packaging that can be effectively recycled, addressing the shortcomings of current recycling systems. This legislative change is not just a challenge but a wake-up call for brands to innovate and lead the way toward a more sustainable packaging industry.


By embracing extended producer responsibility, increasing the use of recycled materials, and adopting sustainable practices, brands and designers can drive significant improvements in plastic packaging management. The New York Plastics Recycling Bill aims to create a more sustainable future, encouraging innovation and responsibility within the packaging industry. New York packaging revolution


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