Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Legislation to Receive Renewed Consideration in California

Senate Bill 54 establishes requirements for plastics packaging reduction, alongside framework for future recycling program funding and requirements for a number of packaging formats 
 Last week, an amended version of California Senate Bill 54, was released by bill sponsor Sen. Ben Allen. The legislation, passed by the Senate in January of this year, would create a broad-based EPR packaging and printed paper recycling and recovery program. While the legislation is unique in terms of requiring a 25% reduction in single-use plastic packaging use by 2032, it contains many other elements in considered and approved state-focused EPR legislation, seen over the past two years. It establishes a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO), which will oversee packaging-based fee structures for brands, and have responsibility for implementing an outside needs assessment for municipalities. The legislation also requires all covered packaging be recyclable, compostable or reusable in outlying years. A significant portion of funding collected from the brands would be directed to both expand and improve recycling programs and connected facilities across the state. The amended language (below) includes a specific reference to label and similar elements (inks, adhesives) that may be detrimental to the recovery or recycling of covered packaging.  (2) If recycling or composting of the covered material is made more difficult by the incorporation of specific elements, including, but not limited to, inks, labels, and adhesives that may be detrimental to recycling or composting according to the Association of Plastic Recyclers design guide or other relevant industry association, or other criteria established by the department, the fee for that covered material shall be sufficient to account for the increased cost to manage that covered material. The PRO is directed in the bill to adjust costs upwards for brands using labels and elements deemed detrimental to recycling. That cost is currently unknown, and will be developed during the regulatory process should the legislation pass. Outside of bottle bill/deposit beverage containers and limited specialty product categories, nearly all consumer facing packaging is covered. There is no prohibition on label use in the legislation. Other references to labeling are connected to what future waste characterization studies will determine what packaging may be labeled as either recyclable, compostable, and similar environmental claims. Next Steps Timing remains tight for the bill to complete the legislative process prior to session adjournment. If it does succeed, sponsors may seek removal of a scheduled November plastics packaging fee-focused ballot initiative. SB 54 will likely be heard in the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources next week, but has not yet been added to the agenda.

California Legislators Consider Labeling Requirements Across Industries

California legislators are considering legislation that would require labeling by CPGs.

Senate Bill 258, authored by Senator Lara would require cleaning products carry labels listing all ingredients, along with a pictogram illustrating potential health effects. This bill has passed the Senate, and is awaiting further consideration in its Assembly committee assignment.

Assembly Bill 1575, introduced by Assemblyman Kalra, would require beauty salons to label cosmetics used on customers in-store. A similar requirement is already in place for those sold at grocery and other retail outlets. This bill has passed through the Assembly, and is awaiting further action in the Senate. The California legislature adjourns for their summer recess on July 21st.

California Agency Issues Revised Q&A for PROP 65 Warnings

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently posted a question and answer document regarding warning requirements that will apply to businesses beginning August 30, 2018.

OEHHA’s new regulations place primary responsibility for providing warnings on product manufacturers, producers, packagers, importers, suppliers or distributors.

Specifically, suppliers of ingredients that contain a listed PROP 65 chemical would only have responsibility for a consumer warning if it has knowledge that the end use of the component part or ingredient will expose a consumer to the listed chemical at a level that requires a warning.

Consumer products manufactured prior to August 30, 2018, and labeled with a warning that is compliant with the September 2008 version of the regulations will be considered in compliance with the 2018 regulations. Additional PROP 65 guidance information will be provided by OEHHA prior to the 2018 compliance deadline.

USDA Moves Cautiously on GMO Labeling Compliance

Two weeks ago, the USDA provided a list of 30 questions for stakeholder input, as they begin to craft the language and parameters for GMO labeling, as required by Congress. The USDA is seeking guidance on symbols, how multi-ingredient food products would be treated, and viability of “digital/electronic disclosure” on food packages.

The agency intends to issue a proposed draft rule later this fall, which would outline GMO label wording and package placement, among other elements. They have not yet delayed the July 2018 GMO labeling requirement for manufacturers.

FDA Officially Delays Nutrition Labeling Requirements

Late last month, the FDA indefinitely delayed forthcoming nutrition labeling requirements for individual food and beverage packaging. As previously reported, companies with sales of over $10 million annually would have been required to comply with the new regulations in August of 2018. The FDA stated that additional time is needed for industry to develop and procure printing associated with the new labels. Several large consumer product goods (CPGs) companies had also requested additional time to comply.

It’s anticipated that a new timeline and compliance schedule will be printed in the Federal Register later this year. The updated nutrition panel was the most significant food and beverage labeling requirement to come out of the FDA during the Obama Administration.