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The plastics industry has expressed concern over certain provision in legislation aimed to reduce plastic waste that was introduced by U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), S.984, and  by U.S.

India’s central government has issued a draft nationwide proposal to mandate certain requirements for plastic carry-out bags and to ban certain single-use plastics beginning in 2022. A Draft Notification Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021, published by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on March 12, 2021, announced the proposed ban that would take place in three phases.

The City of Philadelphia—along with the City of West Chester, the Township of Lower Merion, and the Borough of Narberth—filed a lawsuit on March 3, 2021, in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, challenging the state’s moratorium on municipal plastic bag bans.

As we reported in October 2020, California became the first state in the U.S. to require a minimum post-consumer recycled resin in plastic bottles (see CA to Require Minimum Recycled Content in Plastics Bottles). Other states may follow California’s lead. Washington, New Jersey, and Oregon are three states where legislatures have introduced bills requiring the use of post-consumer recycled content in certain types of packaging.

Washington

Single-use plastic and paper bags—along with disposable polystyrene food containers and cups—will be banned in New Jersey stores and food service establishments, effective May 2022. Governor Phil Murphy signed the legislation, S864, banning these products on November 4, 2020.  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft National Recycling Strategy. The draft strategy “identifies strategic objectives and actions needed to create a stronger, more resilient, and cost-effective U.S. municipal solid waste recycling system,” reports EPA in a press release on the draft strategy.

California legislators approved Assembly Bill 793 that will require all plastic bottles covered by the state’s container redemption program to average at least 15% post-consumer recycled resin starting in 2022.

Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) recently published a report on annual production, use, and recycling of flexible plastics in the European Union (EU). The report, Flexible Films Market in Europe: State of Play, identifies the key challenges to increasing the level of recycling of flexible plastics in the EU, in addition to providing suggestions to support the growth of the industry.

Vermont’s single-use plastic bag ban takes effect on July 1, 2020. As background, HB 113 (Act 69) was signed by Governor Phil Scott on June 17, 2019. Exceptions to the ban include plastic bags used to pack loose items—such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.—within a store and plastic bags for prescription medications and dry cleaning.

Clearer communication of sustainability efforts with regards to plastic packaging are needed to help con­sumers make better decisions and lead the way to a more circular plastics economy. This is among the conclusions of a joint report from the United National Environment Programme (UNEP), Consumers International, and One Planet, titled “Can I Recycle This?” A Global Mapping and Assessment of Standards, Labels and Claims on Plastic Packaging.