A bill introduced in Trenton and sponsored by state Sen. Bob Smith, D-Middlesex, is pushing for stronger plastic packaging in what is called “Extended Producer Responsibility” or EPR. But what exactly does this mean? It all comes down to recycling, said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. New Jersey residents try to recycle as many products that come through the household as possible, he said.

This bill is designed for the companies that make plastic products. Overall, it’s an effort to work to create more sustainability with products that are created, O’Malley said. The goal is to make sure that large companies use less packaging materials, especially single-use plastic products, and that the packaging they do use is recyclable, leading to a cleaner environment. The first rule of recycling is to reduce, he added.

New Jersey is not the first state to introduce EPR. It actually exists on every continent, O’Malley said. But the U.S. has been playing catch-up with states moving forward with these programs. Maine and Oregon passed EPR-type laws last year, and Colorado just implemented one this month. Currently, there is legislation being considered in other states such as New York, California, Maryland, and Washington.

“We’re still awash in plastics. Everyone in the state is doing what they need to by bringing reusable bags to grocery stores, now. Every day the single-use plastic bag ban is in effect, which means 12 million single-use plastic bags aren’t being used, aren’t being produced, or ending up at the shore or in our neighborhoods,” O’Malley said.

To read the full story, visit https://nj1015.com/after-shopping-bag-ban-nj-isnt-done-yet-with-laws-targeting-plastics/.
Author: New Jersey 101.5

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