CalRecycle is seeking a producer responsibility organization as it moves toward implementing its extended producer responsibility for packaging law. The application is open through Jan. 1.
California lawmakers passed SB 54 in 2022. The PRO will play a key role in implementing changes to reach the law’s 2032 goals of cutting single-use plastic in packaging by 25% and recycling 65% of it, as well as making all packaging recyclable or compostable.
Under California’s law, producers must pay $5 billion over 10 years. Producers — defined as product manufacturers or brand owners that use covered materials — must join or pay into the PRO by Jan. 1, 2027, or make payments directly to the state.
CalRecycle named its EPR advisory board earlier this year, whose responsibilities include reviewing plans submitted by the PRO. Board members include packaging representatives from Atlantic Packaging and General Mills, among others.
Gov. Gavin Newsom recently vetoed multiple bills related to SB 54, including one that would have created a working group to evaluate “novel” materials as alternatives to single-use plastics.
Next steps in implementing SB 54 include conducting rulemaking workshops and promulgating regulation by Jan. 1, 2025. Review and approval of the PRO’s plans are expected to happen in 2026.
California is one of four states working toward implementing EPR for packaging laws, each structured differently. Earlier this year, Colorado selected Circular Action Alliance as its PRO. The non-profit PRO, which consists of 18 major retailers and CPGs including Amazon, The Coca-Cola Co. and Unilever, formed following multiple states passing laws. CAA was tasked with completing a statewide needs assessment evaluating recycling infrastructure across Colorado by Jan. 30, 2024, to inform plans to reach 2030 and 2035 recycling targets.
CAA said following the Colorado announcement that it also sought to work with Oregon. Oregon will ultimately allow for multiple PROs; prospective PROs must submit an initial plan by March 31, 2024. Maine’s timeline foresees issuing an RFP for a stewardship organization by autumn 2025.