Minnesota Becomes the Fifth State to Approve EPR Packaging Law

Minnesota Becomes the Fifth State to Approve EPR Packaging Law

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Summary

On May 21, 2024, Minnesota took a significant step toward sustainable waste management. Governor Tim Walz signed the Packaging Waste and Cost Reduction Act, making Minnesota the fifth state in the US to establish an EPR legislation for packaging.

What Happened?

The new legislation, part of a broader budget bill, mandates that producers bear responsibility for the lifecycle of packaging materials. The law aims to reduce packaging waste through improved design, recycling, and composting.

Who’s Affected?

Depending on context, Minnesota’s law defines producers as brands, packaging manufacturers, or distributors. Notably, mills that use virgin wood fiber in their products or paper mills producing cardboard out of 100% recycled materials are exempt from this definition.

What is the Scope?

By 2032, all packaging in Minnesota must be reusable, recyclable, compostable, or managed through an approved alternative collection system. Unlike earlier drafts, the final legislation does not set specific performance targets. Instead, a future needs assessment will help determine potential targets for recycling, composting, waste reduction, reuse, return rates, and post-consumer recycled content usage. Specific packaging, such as infant formula and medical equipment, is exempt from the program.

Implementation Timeline for the EPR Packaging Law

Broader Context

Minnesota’s EPR law aligns with similar initiatives in other states. Oregon and California’s programs will start on July 1, 2025, Colorado’s on January 1, 2026, and Maine will begin producer payments in 2026. Prominent supporters of Minnesota’s framework include Ameripen, the Flexible Packaging Association, and the Consumer Brands Association. The American Forest & Paper Association opposed the legislation.

How RLG Can Help

Navigating new regulatory landscapes can be challenging. If you have questions about Minnesota’s EPR Packaging Law or are uncertain about your business’s next steps, RLG is here to help. Our experts stay up-to-date with the latest regulations in the U.S. and internationally, ensuring your business remains compliant.

First Steps

The first step in complying with the new legislation is understanding your business obligations (or lack thereof). To aid producers with this process, RLG conducts hundreds of legal assessments each year. We clarify obligations and offer actionable insights.

Next Steps

Like other states with packaging EPR laws, Minnesota will require producers to report packaging data to Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs). This will require producers to collect, verify, and collate packaging data according to specifications. The reporting requirements of each state with packaging EPR will likely be different. It may take many months to prepare packaging data for reporting properly.

Please reach out to us today to discover how RLG can leverage the 50m+ SKUs in our packaging database to fill data gaps, verify accuracy, and identify opportunities for savings. Introductory data management packages start at less than $1000 (US).

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