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Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Queens) introduced a bill that would impose a fee on the sale of virgin plastic used for single-use products. The tax would start at 10-cents per pound in 2022, increase to 15-cents per pound in 2023, increase to 20-cents per pound in 2024, and then be adjusted for inflation from 2025 onward. The bill, S. 2645, was originally introduced in the Senate by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on August 5th.

Keller and Heckman Partner Hazel O’Keeffe will present, “Legislative aspects: food contact and recycled material,” followed by Associate Ales Bartl who will present, “Legislative aspects: REACH and recycled material,” at the International Seminar on Plastics Recycling, taking place in Valencia, Spain on December 1-2, 2021. The seminar will focus on the challenges of recycling plastic waste when implementing a circular economy that aims to create more sustainable solutions.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1200, known as the California Safer Food Packaging Cookware Act of 2021, on October 5, 2021. The bill bans the use of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging composed in substantial part of paper, paperboard, or other materials derived from plant fibers. It also requires warning labels on cookware to which PFAS was intentionally added.

Colorado’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Act eliminates a law that prohibits municipalities from passing ordinances banning the use or sale of certain types of plastic materials. The Act, HB21-1162, which was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis on July 6, 2021, will phase out single-use plastic bags and polystyrene cups and containers, in addition to reversing a law that pre-empts local plastic bans.

New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment published a plan to phase out certain hard-to-recycle and single-use plastic items after a public consultation held in 2020 revealed general support to reduce plastic consumption in the country.

Efforts to increase plastic recycling and reuse are underway both by industry and regulators. Three plastics and material science companies announced last month the establishment of the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund to invest in scalable recycling technologies, equipment upgrades and infrastructure solutions that advance the recovery and recycling of plastics in the U.S. and Canada. An initial investment of $25 million was made by Dow, LyondellBasell, and NOVA Chemicals.

Massachusetts and California have pending bills that would impact the use of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in cookware.

The European Commission (EC) published its long-awaited Guidelines on single-use plastics, Commission notice 2021/C 216/01, in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) on June 7, 2021.

The Thai Ministry of Industry notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of five draft food-contact regulations on June 9, 2021. The draft regulations, which establish standards for various plastic utensils and plastic bags for foods, are described below.