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Washington State looks to implement EPR Packaging Law

Washington State looks to implement EPR Packaging Law

Lisa Dean Profile Image
by Lisa Dean, March 2019
Lisa is the Head of Global Compliance in Thinkstep's global EPR compliance division and has over 7 years experience as a Compliance Consultant.
House Bill 1204 and Senate Bill 5397 will require producers of plastic packaging to participate in a plastic packaging stewardship organisation from 1 January 2022.

Are you obligated?

Under HB 1204 obligated parties are defined as follows: 
  • Has legal ownership of the brand of the product to which plastic packaging is applied; 
  • Is the first importer of a product into Washington state, to which plastic packaging has been applied; 
  • Retails a product, to which plastic packaging has been applied, acquired from an importer that is the producer; or 
  • Elects to assume the responsibility and register in lieu of a producer 

Plastic packaging is defined as packaging made from plastic, whether alone or in combination with another material, including packaging that bonds plastic with other materials together, such as metal lids bonded to plastic bottles, blister packs combining plastic and paperboard, plastic-coated paper packaging, and aseptic containers.

Requirements

From 1 January 2022, a producer of plastic packaging is prohibited from selling or distributing plastic packaging for use in Washington state unless they are participating in a plastic packaging stewardship organisation with a plan approved by the Department of Ecology.

Producers will be required to ensure that a plan is submitted on its behalf to the Department of Ecology by a stewardship organisation by 1 June 2021.

Producers of plastic packaging are also asked to consider product design and end-of-life management. From 1 January 2023, rigid plastic packaging containers must contain at least 25% post-consumer plastic packaging material and be labelled as such in order to be sold in Washington state.

Violations of the Act will result in fines of up to $1,000 (USD) per violation per day. 

Exemptions

Small producers are exempt from the requirements under HB 1204. A small producer: 
  • Generates less than one million dollars in annual revenues; or 
  • Generates less than one ton of plastic packaging supplied to Washington state residents per year 

Plastic packaging does not include packaging that meets ASTM D6400 or ASTM D6868 standard specifications. 

Outlook on USA Packaging Laws

If the Washington state EPR Packaging Law is passed, it will be the first EPR Packaging Law to be implemented in the USA. We anticipate that other states will also look to implement similar EPR Packaging Laws in the future.

How we can help

We offer a global update service which monitors draft laws and notifies you when these laws come into force. As part of our compliance services, we can assess whether you are required to take action under newly implemented laws and put compliance measures in place. For more information about our services, please contact us