The Business Council & Business Organizations Continue to Oppose EPR Bill Despite Additional Amendments


The Business Council & Business Organizations Continue to Oppose EPR Bill Despite Additional Amendments 

Business Groups Continue to Seek More Workable Solutions to “Expanded Producer Responsibility” (EPR) Bill

ALBANY—The Business Council of New York State Inc., reflecting concerns of our broad membership and more than 100 individual businesses and business groups in an informal EPR coalition, is restating our opposition to S.4246/A.5322, Expanded Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation, now in “C-print” following additional amendments issued Monday night.
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 is supported by business.

Furthermore, we firmly expect this overly aggressive legislation will lead to increased consumer costs and reduced consumer choices, in addition to its compliance cost impact on businesses.  

“The bill still falls well short of what is necessary to create an affordable, workable, “competitive” and effective packaging collection, recycling, and material reuse program,” said Ken Pokalsky, Vice President of Government Affairs, The Business Council of New York State.  “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.”

Consumer Concerns
Last month, The Business Council of New York State highlighted data from a recent study from York University in Toronto and a recent survey by our Public Policy Institute focused on the potential impacts of “expanded producer responsibility” (EPR) legislation aimed at reducing the use of and increasing the recovery and recycling of packaging materials. The study showed that consumers will likely face a $1 billion-a-year cost increase over the next five years, while the survey showed that those familiar with the legislation support a more balanced approach to achieving its goals.

In the PPI survey, New Yorkers most frequently cited “affordability” as the most important issue for state lawmakers to address, with 27% of respondents saying the ‘Cost of Living’ should be the legislature’s main focus.

On environmental issues in general and packaging issues in particular, the survey found:
                - New Yorkers strongly (48%) support “a balance between environmental protection and economic impacts” of environmental proposals.
                - While there is support for EPR legislation in concept, 56% of New Yorkers believe EPR legislation would increase costs for everyday products, and 56% also said they were not willing to pay more for goods to reduce plastic waste.
                - When told that one study suggests EPR costs of up to $5 billion over the next five years, 87% of respondents said that was a concern, and 69% said that was a significant concern.  New Yorkers also had major concerns that EPR legislation could result in other consumer impacts, including increased grocery prices, which 63% saw as a significant concern, and reduced availability of some consumer items (82% saw this as a concern.) 

“Given broad-based concerns about affordability, we believe any new legislation must be designed to avoid unnecessary cost impacts,” Pokalsky added.  “For EPR legislation, this means assuring that the legislation is focused on priority issues, including the diversion of wastes from disposal and improving our material collection and recycling capabilities. We should avoid imposing broad material bans and other mandates that will impose significant cost increases on the businesses that provide essential products to New Yorkers, and ultimately on New York consumers.”