Maine EPR for Packaging Bill Fails to Pass

Written May 7, 2020

Categories: First to Know

A bill to impose an Extended Producer Responsibility program to paper and packaging that was introduced in this year’s legislative session has failed to pass. The bill, "An Act To Support and Increase the Recycling of Packaging" (LD 2104), was debated on February 26, 2020 in the Maine legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Maine's State Legislature adjourned March 17, with no formal action on the bill. Unless the Legislature reconvenes for a special session, no action is expected until next January when the Legislature is open for its next session.

The bill would have imposed a fee on companies that sell products in Maine that come in a package. The bill would create a new product stewardship organization and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection the authority to oversee the organization. Packaging producers with more than $1 million in annual gross revenue would pay into a fund managed by the product stewardship organization.

The fees would be based on a variety of factors, including the amount by weight of packaging material they sell, offer for sale or distribute for sale and could be wholly or partially offset based on if it is deemed "readily recyclable." Other factors include the creation of alternative recycling programs (i.e. takebacks for flexible packaging), packaging redesign for improved recyclability and greater use of recycled content. The fees would be distributed to participating municipalities to reimburse them for recycling and disposal costs.

The debate on the bill had both supporters and detractors testifying. Among those opposing the bill was a printing operation specializing in packaging and they pointed out the negative impact the bill would have on their customers, their products, and operation. Before adjourning the sessions, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection presented amendments to the bill to give some exemptions for drugs, cleaners, fuels, body care products, dietary supplements, drugs, child resistant packaging, and medical devices (e.g., bandages, dental floss, toothbrushes, etc.).

SGIA’s Government Affairs Department worked with the printing operation on their testimony and will continue to follow this legislation. For more information, please contact the Government Affairs Department at please contact govtaffairs@sgia.org.