NY State Wants to Ban Black Printing Ink on Packaging

In its effort to address packaging waste, the New York State legislature wants to pass a law to make those responsible for putting the packaging into the marketplace responsible for its collection and recycling through an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program. This is the third time the state has tried to pass this type of legislation over the past three years. However, there has been a significant shift in the scope, because the latest version of the legislation would also set requirements for packaging reduction, incorporation of recycled content, and ban the use of certain toxic chemicals that includes the use of carbon black-based materials such as black printing inks.

After having several competing bills failed to pass in 2023, in February 2024 legislators in the New York State Assembly and Senate introduced identical bills AB5322B and SB4246B which would enact the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act. The act will create an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program that also would ban the use of certain toxic chemicals in packaging. One of the proposed chemicals to be banned is carbon black, the primary pigment in black printing inks. Banning the use of black printing inks would have a devastating impact on consumers and the printing and packaging converting industry from both a manufacturing and subsequent use perspective.

This bill was amended and reintroduced in 2024 and would still ban the use of black printing ink on packaging in the state of New York. The bill was on the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee agenda on February 13, 2024, and the Alliance submitted a letter of opposition to all committee members. Unfortunately, the bill moved through the Assembly committee, and it is set to be on the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee agenda on February 25, 2024. The Alliance has also submitted a letter of opposition to all members of the Senate committee.

Beyond the obvious impact that would immediately be experienced by any person purchasing a covered product in a package, carbon black used in printing inks is not toxic. This has been confirmed by several regulatory agencies including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and under California’s Proposition 65 regulations. Carbon black is also an important component in black plastic. Black plastic can pose a challenge with some waste separation technology because it is not detected, but advances in this technology have eliminated this problem allowing black plastic to be separated and recycled. Therefore, the reasoning used to justify this ban is completely unfounded.

The Alliance is carefully monitoring the EPR legislative process in New York State and will be challenging any future attempts to ban carbon black with advocacy efforts.

If you reside in or have a facility located in New York State we need your support by taking action today. 


Thank you for joining together to oppose this detrimental legislation.


In this article, Sara Osorio, EHS Affairs Coordinator, PRINTING United Alliance, reviews the Alliance’s action on New York State’s proposed EPR legislation. More information about EPR programs can be found at Business Excellence-EHS Affairs, or reach out to Sara directly if you have questions about how these issues may affect your business: sosorio@printing.org.   
To become a member of the Alliance and learn more about how our subject matter experts can assist your company with services and resources such as those mentioned in this article, please contact the Alliance membership team: 888-385-3588 / membership@printing.org. 


Osorio, Sara Environmental, Health & Safety Affairs Coordinator Government & Regulatory Affairs Dept.

Related Content