Possible Movement on Legislation to Set Up Manufacturer Financial Liability for Packaging and Printed Material Management

One of the non-COVID-19 related bills not currently on the Senate calendar for floor action but might be given clearance to move out of committee to the floor (see related post here) is S.227, which would address a number of solid waste issues but most significantly set the stage for a potentially wide ranging and costly extended producer responsibility (EPR) regime on packaging and printed materials.  EPR regimes generally require manufacturers to pay for the collection and recycling or disposal of covered products and materials, and can be costly and complicated.

S.227 was approved by the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee in March but was referred to the Senate Finance Committee before the COVID-19 crisis set in.  Similarly to S.295 and the calendar clearing plan, S.227 was originally included in a list of bills that Senate committees could work on to send to the floor, but after some reservations were raised in Senate Rules Committee discussions, a final decision to move forward with the bill has been temporarily delayed.  However, it is a strong possibility that the bill will be allowed to move and manufacturers and other stakeholders should be prepared.

You can review the bill as passed by the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee clicking here.  To track the bill, click here.  In its current form, the bill would:

  • Direct the Office of Legislative Council to draft legislation imposing an EPR regime for packaging and printed materials.
  • Expand the scope of the state’s battery EPR program, and expand the ban on disposing batteries in landfills to all batteries.
  • Ban personal care products in small bottles in lodging establishments.

Although the bill does not strictly mandate every provision in the required draft legislation for EPR covering packaging and printed materials, it does provide several criteria to be considered. Companies should review these criteria.  As for intended scope, the draft bill is expected to cover:

  • Packaging to include, at a minimum, material used to market, contain, wrap, protect, and deliver consumer goods, including food and beverages, personal care products, general consumer goods, and food service ware.
  • Printed material to include at a minimum newsprint and inserts, magazines and catalogues, direct mail, office paper, and telephone directories.

The current “primary battery” EPR program in Vermont covers nonrechargeable batteries weighing two kilograms or less, including alkaline, carbon-zinc, and lithium metal batteries.  S.227 would expand the scope of this program to include batteries intended for industrial, business-to-business, warranty or maintenance services, or nonpersonal use, all of which are excluded under current law.  In addition, the current exclusion of batteries in medical devices would be eliminated for any medical device designed and marketed for sale or resale principally to consumers for personal use.

AIV has been actively working on this legislation and is working to coordinate industry engagement.  Companies that might be impacted by S.227 should contact us at info@aivt.org for more information and to discuss options and opportunities for engaging on the bill.