As New Jersey's Legislature becomes the latest to consider extended producer responsibility for plastics and packaging, fault lines are forming.
A top environmental legislator in Trenton is pressing industry to show detailed plans for how it would raise low plastics recycling rates.
Industry groups, for their part, worry about what one called "heavy-handed enforcement" from a new plastics office in state government and the possibility that legislators would raid $120 million in EPR funds to solve other budget problems.
That was some of the back-and-forth at a Jan. 31 hearing on the plan in New Jersey's Legislature, which has an established track record of passing other plastics environmental laws.
Since 2020, the state has banned plastic and paper retail bags and expanded polystyrene foodservice items and also passed one of the country's more detailed recycled-content mandates for plastic packaging.
Now it's joining others, including Washington state and Maryland, in considering EPR. New Jersey legislators debated another version last year.
The new draft of the EPR law from state Sen. Bob Smith, D-Piscataway, would require a 25 percent reduction in single-use packaging by 2032.