OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 233

AN ACT CONCERNING A REDUCTION OF CONSUMER-BASED PACKAGING MATERIALS.

SUMMARY:

This bill revamps the current requirement for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner to adopt regulations on the content, disposal, and recyclability of packaging material. DEEP has not yet adopted the regulations, but the law sets no deadline by which to do so.

The bill shifts the focus of the regulations from disposable packaging material to consumer packaging and establishes an October 1, 2017 deadline for adopting them.

Among other things, the bill requires the regulations to set standards and requirements for reducing, by at least 50%, the volume and weight of consumer packaging in the state's solid waste stream beginning January 1, 2024. The standards must include performance targets and ways to verify the reductions.

Consumer packaging is any material used, whether for commercial, wholesale, or retail, to ship consumer goods; provide immediate covering of consumer goods; or bundle consumer goods with graphics, designs, labels, or information to attract or inform consumers. Consumer goods are goods primarily for personal, family, or household use.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

CONSUMER PACKAGING REGULATIONS

In addition to setting standards and requirements to reduce packaging in the waste stream, the regulations must include standards and requirements to increase (1) consumer packaging's recyclability and (2) the proportion of recycled materials used in consumer packaging manufacturing. They must all be consistent with the state's Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy (see BACKGROUND).

The bill allows the regulations to:

1. require labels stating whether the consumer packaging (a) is recyclable and how much recycled material it contains and (b) contains a toxic substance;

2. set minimum standards for recycled content in classes of consumer packaging;

3. establish guidelines or standards for (a) refillable and reusable packaging for certain types of goods and (b) packaging certain products in recyclable consumer packaging; and

4. ban or reduce using substances in consumer packaging to minimize adverse environmental impacts, such as the release of toxic substances from incineration.

BACKGROUND

Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy

The DEEP commissioner is currently revising the state's solid waste management plan to include a strategy for diverting, though source reduction, reuse, and recycling, at least 60% of solid waste generated in Connecticut by January 1, 2024. The law requires the revision to be completed by July 1, 2016 (CGS 22a-241a).

Related Bill

sSB 226, reported favorably by the Environment Committee, (1) phases out the use of plastic bags given to customers at certain retail points of sale that are not reusable, compostable, or 100% recyclable and (2) requires an agreement between DEEP and the grocery and retail industries to, among other things, reduce the demand for and distribution of paper and plastic bags.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

29

Nay

0

(03/11/2016)