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United States Packaging Legislation Map

Better Earth provides education, legislative tracking, and consultative sustainability services to help you reach your sustainability goals.

Keep track of legislative trends with our new United States Packaging Legislation Map tool! Click on any green state below to learn more info.

California

Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban. California became the first state to enact legislation imposing a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at large retail stores, and requires a 10-cent minimum charge for recycled paper bags, reusable plastic bags, and compostable bags at certain locations.

Extended Producer Responsibility. Considered the toughest bill on plastics to date, SB 54 requires 100% of packaging to be recyclable or compostable by 2032 and packaging makers help pay for the cost of recycling and composting packaging waste.  

PFAS Regulations: Effective January 1, 2023. On October 5, 2021, Governor Newson signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1200 into law. This bill bans all plant fiber-based food packaging containing PFASs that are either intentionally added or present at levels exceeding 100 parts per million total fluorine, beginning January 1, 2023.

Colorado

Single-Use Plastic Bag and Expanded Polystyrene Ban. According to the bill, single-use plastic and paper bags will have a 10-cent fee starting in 2023. Then in 2024, single-use plastic bags and expanded polystyrene containers often used for takeout food will be banned.

Extended Producer Responsibility.  The state became the third in the nation to pass an Extended Producer Responsibility bill known as HB22-1355, and was one of the first to have composters well-represented through its development. Through dues, packaging and printed paper producers will help finance statewide recycling and composting. 

PFAS Regulations: Effective January 1, 2024. Colorado Governor Jared Schutz Polis signed HB22-1345 into law on June 3, 2022. The new law prohibits the sale or distribution of fiber-based food packaging and other products, such as fabric treatments, carpets, cosmetics, juvenile products, and textile furnishings, to which PFAS has been intentionally added. The ban goes into effect January 1, 2024.

This state regulation is in addition to the 22 retailers selling food or food packaging that have announced steps to reduce or eliminate PFAS in food packaging at more than 140,000 stores worldwide, including Burger King, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Whole Foods Market, and other major retailers, according to Toxic-Free Futures.

Connecticut  

Single-Use Plastic Bag, Straw and Expanded Polystyrene Ban. Enacted in 2019, Connecticut’s SB113 also placed restrictions on single-use straws and prevents anyone from selling or selling food or beverages in expanded polystyrene containers.

PFAS Regulations: Effective December 32, 2023.  In Connecticut, the ban becomes effective December 31, 2023. The Connecticut law prohibits the sale or offering for sale of any food package or packaging component to which PFAS has been intentionally introduced during manufacture or distribution.

Delaware

Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban. Starting July 1, 2022, retailers in Delaware will no longer provide plastic carryout bags at checkout. Instead, they will provide customers access to a reusable bag for purchases. (82 Del. Laws c. 166) 

Hawaii

Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban. Hawaii has a de facto statewide ban on single-use plastic bags as all its most populous counties prohibit them at checkout, as well as paper bags containing less than 40 percent recycled material.

Maine

Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban. As of July 1, 2021, retail establishments are prohibited from providing single-use plastic carry-out bags. Larger grocery and box stores that provide carry-out bags must collect a 5-cent fee for each bag except for reusable bags not made of plastic. Smaller stores and restaurants are exempt from the fee. 

Expanded Polystyrene Ban. Per 38 MRSA Chapter 15-1A, and as of July 1, 2021, Maine banned the use of disposable polystyrene foam food service ware, including containers, bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, lids, sleeves, stirrers, or other items used to contain, transport, serve or consume prepared foods. 

Extended Producer Responsibility Bill. According to www.maine.gov, the Maine legislature recently passed a law establishing a stewardship program for packaging. Producers of products will pay into a fund based on the amount and the recyclability of packaging associated with their products. These funds will be used to reimburse municipalities for eligible recycling and waste management costs, make investments in recycling infrastructure, and help Maine citizens understand how to recycle. This program’s purpose is to reduce the volume and toxicity and increase the recycling of packaging material. It will provide support to municipalities in their recycling efforts and in doing so improve recycling outcomes for packaging material in Maine.  

PFAS Regulations: Phased legislation, starting January 1, 2023. In Maine, by January 1, 2023, any manufacturer of a PFAS-containing product that wishes to sell in Maine must submit a notification including a description of the product and the purpose, amount, and types of PFAS used. All packaging containing intentionally added PFAS will be banned by January 1, 2030.

Maryland

Expanded Polystyrene Ban. Effective July 1, 2020, Maryland banned the selling or use of disposable polystyrene foam food service ware.

PFAS Regulations: Effective January 1, 2024. On April 21, 2022, the governor of Maryland signed SB 273(cross-filed HB 275, Chapter 138, 2022) into law to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in several categories of consumer product, including plant-fiber food packages and food packaging with intentionally added PFAS. The prohibition of PFAS for foodservice packaging in Maryland will become effective on January 1, 2024. 

Minnesota

PFAS Regulations: Effective January 1, 2024. The state of Minnesota has implemented measures to regulate PFAS in food packaging. This prohibition will become effective on January 1, 2024, and regulations will include food packaging with intentionally added PFAS.

New Jersey

Single-Use Plastic Bags, Straws and Expanded Polystyrene Ban. Effective May 4, 2022, the New Jersey bill prohibits the provision or sale of single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use paper carryout bags, and polystyrene foam food service products; and limits the provision of single-use plastic straws; and appropriates moneys from the Clean Communities Program Fund to support ongoing public education.

New York

Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban. New York was the third state to ban plastic bags in 2019 thanks to Senate Bill 1508. The law bans single-use plastic bags provided at checkout by grocery stores and other retailers. There are some exemptions, including bags distributed at the meat/deli counter, newspaper bags, trash bags, garment bags, bags provided by a pharmacy for prescription drugs, and restaurant takeout bags. The law allows individual counties the option of placing a 5-cent fee on paper bags, with 2 cents going to local governments and 3 cents to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. 

Expanded Polystyrene Ban. Effective January 1, 2022, New York banned the use of disposable polystyrene foam food service ware and packing peanuts.  

PFAS Regulations: Effective December 31, 2022. The restriction of PFAS in food packaging applies specifically to food packaging with intentionally added PFAS, as described in section 37-0203 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). According to that provision, no person shall distribute, sell, or offer for sale in this state food packaging containing PFAS substances as intentionally added chemicals on or after December 31, 2022.

Oregon

Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban. Starting January 1, 2020, Retail establishments and restaurants are prohibited from providing single-use plastic carry-out bags. They also must, in most instances, charge at least five cents for paper bags (with 40% or more post-consumer recycled content), reusable plastic bags (4 mils thick) and reusable fabric bags although restaurants may still provide paper bags at no cost. 

Rhode Island

PFAS Regulations: Effective January 1, 2024. Rhode Island’s governor recently announced that they are banning PFAS in foodservice packaging.

The legislation (2022-H 7438A, 2022-S 2044A) prohibits food packaging to which PFAS have been intentionally added in any amount from being manufactured, knowingly sold, or distributed in Rhode Island, as of January 1, 2024.

Vermont

Single-Use Plastic Bag, Straw and Expanded Polystyrene Ban. Vermont’s SB 113 placed restrictions on single-use plastic bags, single-use straws and stirrers, and prevents anyone from selling or selling food or beverages in expanded polystyrene containers.  

PFAS Regulations: Effective July 1, 2023. Vermont passed the nation’s most comprehensive legislation on PFAS when S.20 (Act 36) was signed by the governor on May 18, 2021. The law bans PFAS in food packaging, firefighting foam, and certain household products.  With regard to food packaging, the law prohibits the sale, distribution for sale, and distribution for use of any food package to which PFAS have been intentionally added or are present in any amount.

Washington

Expanded Polystyrene Ban. Starting in June 2023, packing peanuts and other loose fill packaging will be banned in Washington. Then in June 2024, expanded polystyrene coolers and other food service products like containers, plates, bowls, clamshells, trays and cups will also be banned.

PFAS Regulations: Phased legislation, starting February 1, 2023. In 2018, Washington state approved ESHB 2658 to prohibit perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging. According to the definitions in the law, food package means ‘a package or packaging component that is intended for direct food contact and is comprised, in substantial part, of paper, paperboard, or other materials originally derived from plant fibers.’ This law was recodified after further analysis into safer alternatives, and effective dates determined accordingly.

Implementation by Category Scope Effective Date*
PHASE 1

Food Boats

Pizza Boxes

Plates

Wraps and Liners

February 2023
PHASE 2

Bags and Sleeves

Bowls

Flat Serviceware

Open-top Containers

Closed Containers

May 2024
*DOE expects to begin enforcing the restrictions on PFAS-containing food packaging from those dates

Washington D.C.

Expanded Polystyrene Ban. Effective January 1, 2016, D.C.’s foam ban banned businesses and organizations from serving food or beverages within expanded polystyrene food service packaging. Through 2021 amendments, the Foam Free Ban now also includes banning the retail sale of foam food service ware, foam storage containers like coolers, and foam loose-fill packaging material, commonly known as packing peanuts. 

Did you know? Several states have now banned PFAS in food packaging.

Click here to learn more.

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