S.4246-D (Harckham)/A.5322-D (Glick)


Vice President


S.4246-D (Harckham)/A.5322-D (Glick)


“Packaging reduction organization” and packaging mandates and restrictions



The Business Council and numerous other business organizations continue to oppose S.4246-D/A.5322-D.

In comparing the bill to our longstanding issues of concern, including but not limited to material and chemical bans, material source reduction mandates, the role of producers in implementing the program, mandated payments for municipal disposal costs and others, this version of the bill falls well short of a package that be supported by business.

Moreover, we maintain our concerns that this overly-aggressive legislation will lead to increased consumer costs and reduced consumer choices, in addition to its direct cost-impact on businesses.

In particular, we question the Senate sponsor’s assertion that, “We want a bill that is actionable, that the people who are covered by the law can actually meet the objectives of the law.  This reflects that reality and will still be the toughest in the nation.” 

We have not heard from any businesses saying that the modified mandates in S.4246-D/A.5322-D are achievable, and question on what basis the sponsor makes that assertion.We agree that the bill has the most stringent source reduction mandates of any state-adopted EPR program, and that no other state EPR law imposes broad chemical or material bans as in S.4246/A.5322.    Requiring businesses to incur costs to reformulate products and modify production lines for the purpose of achieving an unworkable target, with the possibility of the state providing regulatory relief at some point in the future, is not a sound policy approach.  These proposed targets are not based on any real-world assessment of opportunities to reformulate or redesign packaging, or any assessment of current market conditions – indeed the state’s “needs assessment” is still a year or more away from completion.  To give the state discretion to modify unworkable mandates at some time in the future provides little relief to producers, who will have to begin spending resources on product and process modifications in an effort to achieve these mandates.

Importantly, the “D-print” makes the proposed program even less responsive to practical limitations on achieving its source reduction mandates.  It strikes a provision from the ‘C-print” that would allow DEC to adjust the source reduction mandate to as low as 10 percent based on “information gathered through the needs assessment or provided in producer plans and reports, and/or based on consideration of environmental, technical and economic conditions.”  Now, the bill only allows for company specific waivers, and only based on conflicts with federal law, with no opportunity to adjust these aggressive source reduction mandates based on technical or economic feasibility, or consumer impacts.

The bill fails to address other key business concerns and raises new issues.  It still leaves significant uncertainty as to the role of producers in setting up and implementing the “packaging reduction and recycling organization,” or PRRO (the bill says that DEC can designate as the PRRO any entity from among the non-profits that apply.)  The bill continues to require the PRRO to reimburse municipalities for the costs of disposing of collected packaging material – something that no other state ERP requires, and that could provide an incentive to landfill, rather than recycle, materials.)   The bill also imposes new labor mandates in instances where municipalities elect not to provide material collection and processing services, something we have not seen in other EPR proposals.

The bill also delays compliance with broad “recyclability” criteria by 18 months (the time allowed for DEC to adopt regulations).  This provision requires that all packaging sold in the state must have “a consistent regional market for purchase, by end users in the production of new products,” or be prohibited from in-state sale. While the exact meaning of this provision remains unclear, it raises concerns if the new program is unable to achieve “consistent markets” for the remanufacture of all categories of packaging material within 3.5 years, this could serve as a “backdoor” material ban.

In summary, the amendments in S.4246-D/A.5322-D fall well short of what is necessary to create an affordable, workable, “competitive” and effective packaging collection, recycling and material reuse programs.  We urge legislators to carefully consider this legislation against well-recognized concerns regarding impacts on consumer costs and consumer choice, as well as on New York businesses and jobs.