PRINTING United Alliance Submits Comments on Proposed Printing Tax in Connecticut

In response to a request for feedback, PRINTING United Alliance submitted comments to the Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management (CCSMM) that focused on concerns with an extended producer responsibility program (EPR) for paper and packaging.  Connecticut formed the CCSMM to explore ways to reduce the amount of waste that is generated, improve reuse, recycling, organics collection, and other innovative solutions. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and many municipalities from across the state are included in the coalition. 

As part of its work, CCSMM released a series of public engagement questions soliciting information and input on four major focus areas: united based pricing, organics in the waste stream, extended producer responsibility (EPR), and programs for increased recycling. The EPR program involves imposing a tax or fee on printed goods comprised of paper and packaging and the money would be used to support the collection of these materials for recycling. 

The comments submitted by PRINTING United Alliance offered feedback on several major areas of focus for the coalition as it pertains to EPR programs. The first was to encourage additional research into the effectiveness of these types of programs. Recent research on existing EPR programs for paper and packaging in the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia and Ontario have shown that they have not achieved their stated goals. These programs have been in operation for many years and have plateaued in terms of materials collected for recycling. Now both programs are faced with escalating costs that must be borne by the brands and producers of printed material and packaging. 

The comments did support the move towards strategies that can be implemented that both seek to encourage increased recycling opportunities on the part of residential and industrial facilities and provide incentives to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment.  PrUA stated that there are solutions available to accomplish this goal that do not penalize companies engaged in the production of products through the imposition of an increased user fee or tax as envisioned by an Extended Producer Responsibility program.  The comments stressed that any resulting program should not stifle innovation that is occurring at the various levels of the supply and disposal chain to address the temporary lack of recycling capacity for many types of solid wastes, including packaging as companies adopt changes in material composition,  incorporate new product designs, and address the fate of materials once consumed. Traditional EPR programs focus only on recycling and this provides no flexibility for innovative approaches. 

PRINTING United Alliance’s Government Affairs Department will continue to engage on this important issue.  For more information or if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Kinter directly at mkinter@printing.org.
Also Tagged: SM Advocacy