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What is the New York Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act?

New York Packaging Reduction Act – Meliora Cleaning Products

About 36% of all plastics produced are used in packaging, most of which is designed to be used once and then discarded. A new bill in New York state aims to address this issue directly by reducing plastic packaging and making companies responsible for plastic waste from their products. If passed, this legislation would be a big win that reduces plastic pollution and holds companies to a higher standard for sustainable packaging.

What is the New York Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act?

The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (S4246-b/A5322-b) is a bill under consideration in the New York state legislature aimed at reducing plastic pollution and packaging waste. The bill would:

  • Introduce an “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) system for packaging that requires companies to pay the cost of managing packaging waste.
  • Require companies with net annual income over $1 million to reduce single-use plastic packaging by 50% over the next 12 years. Any remaining plastic packaging would have to be refillable or recyclable.
  • Prevent “chemical recycling” from being considered recycling. 
  • Ban 15 toxic chemicals commonly used in packaging, including PFAS, vinyl chloride, lead, mercury, formaldehyde, bisphenols, and toluene. Many of these chemicals are carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting.

Let’s break some of that down:

What is extended producer responsibility?

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a “policy approach that assigns producers responsibility for the end-of-life of products,” according to the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Simply put, EPR says that each company is responsible for managing all the packaging it puts into the world throughout its entire lifecycle, from production to disposal.

At Meliora Cleaning Products, we have always chosen to design our products and packaging with the end-of-life in mind. We avoid single-use plastic entirely, opting instead for paper, cardboard, steel, and glass because they are significantly more recyclable and have a lower impact on people and the planet than plastics.

What is chemical recycling?

Chemical recycling is a controversial method for managing plastic waste often promoted by the plastics industry. It is neither energy-efficient nor economically viable and encourages more plastic production by leading people to believe that plastic is recyclable and promising to produce new plastics with reused material.

Environmental experts say that chemical recycling is greenwashing and a “false solution” to the plastic pollution crisis because it produces toxic emissions, hazardous waste, and greenhouse gases.

We believe that the best approach to managing plastic waste is to eliminate as much plastic production as possible. We design plastic waste out of our products instead of relying on ineffective and hazardous methods of dealing with it later. All our cleaning products and packaging are made without any single-use plastic. That means no dissolvable pods or sheets or plastic jugs, bottles, caps, wrappers, liners, or tape.

Why is the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act important?

The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act is the “most comprehensive packaging reduction legislation in the country,” according to Beyond Plastics, an advocacy group dedicated to ending plastic pollution. If passed, the bill would have a direct, positive impact in New York and beyond and further establish the viability of statewide EPR packaging programs.

Requiring companies to cut single-use plastic packaging in half would directly reduce plastic production. Furthermore, making companies responsible for managing packaging waste from their products would incentivize more sustainable options, including reusable and refillable containers and recyclable materials like cardboard and glass. Many companies use plastic because it is relatively cheap to produce, but adding end-of-life costs could make plastic less profitable and therefore less appealing. 

Meliora Cleaning Products supports the Packaging Reduction bill

At Meliora Cleaning Products, we support the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act because it aligns with our values as a company. We recognize our responsibility to the people and planet around us, and strive to minimize our impact through responsible packaging and ingredient selection.

We signed onto a Memorandum of Support sent to New York state legislators by Beyond Plastics. Our founder Kate testified in favor of the bill before the New York State Joint Committee on Environmental Conservation, arguing that the bill is both realistic and achievable, citing our company as an example.

All of our laundry and cleaning products are free of single-use plastic, a demonstration that companies can design effective, affordable products that don't rely on plastic or wasteful packaging.