The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), an ACMA partner organization in efforts to ensure that the growing number of extended producer responsibility (EPR) bills being debated in several US states yield fair and workable laws, reported on June 30th that Oregon has passed the Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act. The AF&PA, which has anchored a coalition that in addition to ACMA also includes MPA-The Association of Magazine Media, Association of National Advertisers, Envelope Manufacturers Association, and others, provides the following report:

The bill will require that packaging and printing & writing papers be recycled through one or more producer responsibility organizations (PROs).

According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the PROs would be responsible for paying an estimated $82 million per year to collect and recycle these products, to upgrade recycling processing facilities, to create new recycling education programs, and for paying local governments and operating new depots for the collection of recyclables. DEQ estimates that all these new programs might increase the amount of material recycled by about 3%, with the cost of recycling in Oregon estimated to increase by over 30%. Several elements of the bill will be established through rulemaking by DEQ over the next several years.

“AF&PA looks forward to working with Oregon Governor Kate Brown and the Department of Environmental Quality DEQ to make sure that highly recycled materials, like paper, are not penalized or forced to subsidize plastic recycling,” said AF&PA President/CEO Heidi Brock in a statement. “While well-intended, SB 582 has significant consequences for small businesses and manufacturers, including the paper and wood products industry, which employs more than 28,000 people in Oregon.”

She continued: “Oregon’s Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act may make sense for hazardous or hard-to-recycle materials. However, paper is a recycling success. Almost two-thirds of all paper was recycled last year, and for over a decade, paper recycling has met or exceeded 63 percent. AF&PA members have a demonstrated record making our products more sustainable and circular. We look forward to working on an implementation plan that recognizes the recycling and sustainability success of paper.”

AF&PA says it will work with its Oregon contract lobbyist over the summer to develop a strategy for engaging DEQ in the regulatory process. AF&PA has drafted this letter to the Governor raising concerns with the bill, without specifically requesting a veto which could impact communications with DEQ.


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