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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.

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) — in conjunction with the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) and the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) — developed guidelines on recycled content in plastic packaging. The guidelines, titled, Recycled Content Used In Plastic Packaging Applications, were designed for companies that intend to use recycled plastic content in food, drink, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical packaging, as well as for policymakers.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee vetoed a bill establishing minimum recycled content for certain plastic beverage containers, citing budget concerns related to COVID-19. House Bill 2722 mandated that beverage manufacturers meet the following minimum postconsumer recycled plastic content, on average, for the total number of certain plastic beverage containers sold in Washington State: 10% starting in 2022, 25% starting in 2025, and 50% starting in 2030.

The UK government implemented a tax on plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled content. The tax, which is scheduled to take effect in April 2022, is intended to encourage the use of recycled plastic and increase demand for recycled plastic. Additional information on the tax is available here

Prior to the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19, a number of jurisdictions announced single-use plastic bag bans (see the article, More states Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags, for more information). Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the health implications of these bans are being questioned.

On February 4, 2020, the District of Columbia’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment voted to pass the Polystyrene Food Service and Loose Fill Packaging Prohibition Amendment Act of 2019, B23-0191. All twelve members of the committee voted in favor of the bill. Mayor Muriel Bowser first sent the bill to Phil Mendelson, Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia, for consideration on March 14, 2019 and Mendelson introduced it to the DC Council the same day.

On June 2, 2019, the European Parliament and Council adopted the Single-Use Plastics Directive, (EU) 2019/904, on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.