ANJEC, Partners Applaud Senate Vote on Recycled Content Bill
TRENTON, NJ- Today, the Senate voted 22-14 to pass S2515, which establishes recycled content requirements for plastic, glass, and paper in the state of New Jersey, along with banning polystyrene loose fill packaging. The bill awaits its first hearing in the Assembly.
“We are thrilled that the Senate has advanced this bill, and especially for the work the bill sponsors Senators Smith and Greenstein have done,” said Jennifer M. Coffey, Executive Director, ANJEC (Assoc. of NJ Environmental Commissions). “The recycling industry is in dire straits, and creating a market for these plastic containers will not only help that industry, it will help cut down on waste and microplastics entering our drinking water. Plastic pollution is not a recycling problem; it is a manufacturing problem. This bill, along with the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, will help end our dependence on single-use plastic and move us towards a reusable future. It will take all of us—consumers, lawmakers, and manufacturers—to do so.”
“The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed applauds the NJ Senate for voting in support of NJ’s recycled content bill. We are hopeful that the bill will complement the state’s comprehensive Plastic Pollution Reduction Act signed by Governor Murphy last November, and will head to his desk very soon,” said Kelly Knutson, State Policy Manager of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. “In doing so, NJ will continue their leadership and commitment to reducing single-use plastics and further protect the Delaware River watershed – the drinking water source for 1.9 million New Jerseyans, fish and wildlife species, and economic prosperity.”
“Plastic pollution is a major threat to wildlife, as we have seen all too often in frightening photographs that circulate regularly online. Accordingly, we applaud the New Jersey Senate for their continued action on addressing the dangerous amount of plastic entering our environment,” said Drew Tompkins, Director of Policy for NJ Audubon. “Building upon one of the strongest plastic bag bans in the country, the bill passed by the Senate today will further reduce our plastic consumption and waste by setting bold recycled content minimums.”
“After the successful passage of the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, recycling is the next big step in the fight against plastic pollution,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “Now that we can no longer ship our recyclables off to another country, it’s up to us to establish a strong market for recycled plastics in New Jersey, and this bill does that. The more plastic that is recycled, the less we see in landfills and our waterways. We want to thank Senator Bob Smith for his leadership on this bill and the Senate for passing it today. We look forward to supporting the Recycled Content bill as it moves through the Assembly.”
Regarding the claims that recycled content will cause concern for food safety:
- In the EU, the EFSA confirmed that 137 of 140 recycling processes were safe and risk-free for food packaging. The remaining three were ruled inconclusive.
- The EPA has released over 170 letters of no objection (LNO) regarding recycling processes for food contact materials, including six covering recycling of PE and PP and nine covering the recycling of PET from the last year.
- The EPA has also selected over 60 recycled content products for its Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines, which regulate what can be bought for food packaging, and has proposed several more additions.
Modeled after California’s legislation, S2515/A4676 would revitalize recycling by mandating recycled content standards, reducing dependency on and consumption of single-use plastics. Recycled content percentage standards are as follows:
|PRODUCT||RECYCLED CONTENT %||RAMP-UP|
|Non-reusable rigid plastic containers (e.g. buckets, tubs)||25%||Five years after effective date and every three years thereafter, percentage will increase by 5% until reaching 50%|
|Non-reusable plastic beverage containers||15%||Five years after effective date and every three years thereafter, percentage will increase by 5% until reaching 50%|
|Paper carryout bags||40%, 20% for bags that hold 8 pounds or less||N/A|
|Plastic carryout bags||20%||Five years after effective date, percentage will increase to 40%|
|Plastic trash bags||10%||Five years after effective date, percentage will increase to 20%|
Other important bill details:
- Two years after the effective date, the act prohibits the sale of polystyrene loose fill packaging.
- Packages or containers shall be exempt from the recycled content standards of this act for a period of five years after the effective date if they contain food, milk products or infant formula. This will not apply to plastic beverage containers or glass containers filled with a beverage. Bags will be completely exempt from the recycled content standards of this act if they are manufactured to hold or transport hazardous waste or regulated medical waste.