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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.  

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. 

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.

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.  

Maryland

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

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.  

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. 

 

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.  

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.

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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