Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont threw his support behind recycled-content mandates for plastic beverage containers Jan. 24, saying he would include them in an upcoming legislative package on extended producer responsibility.
Lamont, a Democrat, made the announcement at a press conference with state legislators to address the closing of a waste-to-energy plant that had handled a significant volume of the state's residential garbage and while previewing budget legislation he will introduce next month.
A statement from Lamont's office did not give details but said Connecticut would look to model California's new rules for recycled content in plastic bottles.
California passed a law in 2020 that requires recycled plastic in beverage containers that are covered by the state's bottle bill, starting at 15 percent in 2022, rising to 25 percent in 2025 and then 50 percent by 2030.
"This proposal focuses on plastic beverage containers because of the low recovery rate for plastic as compared to other materials, and because PCR [post-consumer recycled] content standards are low compared to other materials like glass and aluminum," the announcement said.
Like California, Connecticut is one of 10 U.S. states with a bottle bill.
A draft waste management strategy from Lamont's office, also released Jan. 24, noted that his administration participated in developing model recycled-content standards for plastics and packaging, as part of the Northeast Recycling Council.
That model standard mimicked California's 2020, calling on plastic beverage containers to have 15 percent recycled content two years after the law passes, 25 percent after five years and 50 percent after 10 years.
Lamont said a decision by the state's Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority in mid-2022 to close the waste-to-energy plant should prompt new strategies for dealing with waste, including adopting extended producer responsibility legislation for packaging.
EPR for packaging could save Connecticut taxpayers $50 million in recycling costs and reduce packaging waste by 190,000 tons a year when it's fully implemented in 2028, Lamont said.
"With MIRA closing its doors, we're faced with the challenge of what to do with about a third of our waste tonnage, and relying on out-of-state landfills isn't the answer," Lamont said.
Lamont's plan also includes accelerating organics reuse and diversion from landfills.