On May 31, 2019, news provider Plastics News reported on recent legislative developments within the U.S. states of Vermont and California targeting single-use packaging products. Vermont adopted Bill S.113 that “proposes to prohibit food service establishments from providing plastic carryout bags, expanded polystyrene food service products, and plastic straws to customers” effective from July 1, 2020. A working group will also be established that assess the progress of municipalities in implementing the ban. In California, nearly identical bills State Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 1080 were passed on May 30 and 31, 2019, respectively. The bills include an overall policy goal that “by 2030, manufacturers and retailers achieve a 75% reduction of the waste generated from single-use packaging and products offered for sale or sold in the state through source reduction, recycling, or composting.” Single use packaging and priority single-use plastic products should also be “recyclable or compostable.” Manufacturers and retailers would also need to report a set of relevant information annually to the State’s office.
These bills follow Maine and Maryland’s recent decisions to ban polystyrene food containers (FPF reported) and are in general part of a growing trend across U.S. states. A statement from the industry association the American Chemistry Council (ACC) following adoption of the bill in Vermont said that “a ban on single-use plastic products is not the answer” and that “these products provide business owners and consumers a cost-effective and environmentally preferable choice that is ideal for protecting food and preventing food waste.” Christopher Bray, lead author of the bill in Vermont, said that the state is “looking at creating an extended producer responsibility program, so whoever creates the product has a responsibility for how it’s disposed of in the end,” adding that “we already do this very successfully in Vermont for paint, for batteries, for anything containing mercury. We could build on an existing paradigm we already have.”
Steve Toloken (May 31, 2019). “Vermont bans bags, EPS containers as California weighs tougher law.”
Jordan Davison (June 20, 2019). “Maine and Vermont pass plastic bag bans on the same day.” EcoWatch
Vermont General Assembly (May 22, 2019). “S.113 An act relating to the management of single-use products.”
California Legislative Information (May 22, 2019). “AB-1080 California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.”
California Legislative Information (May 22, 2019). “SB-54 California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.”