Single-Use Plastic Packaging Reduction Laws


Publicity around the ocean plastics crisis and disruptions in global recycling markets resulting from China’s National Sword policy has brought heightened awareness and attention to disposable plastic packaging. This anti-plastic movement led to a wave of states enacting laws focused on the targeted management of problematic materials like mismanaged plastics and single-use items (e.g., plastic carryout bags, foam food service containers, plastic straws).
 
Legislation began with a focus on plastic carryout bags. Next, state-level regulations started targeting other single-use plastic items such as utensils, containers, straws and expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service ware. Further legislation restricting single-use plastics can be expected. Some states are considering extended producer responsibility (EPR) as a management tool for packaging
(inclusive of plastic packaging), in addition to other single-use plastic legislation approaches. While not all the regulations impact retailers, they are indicative of the increasing legislative momentum around single-use plastics.
 
This fact sheet summarizes state-level single-use plastic packaging restrictions across the U.S. For information about plastic bag legislation or extended producer responsibility laws (EPR), please visit RILA’s legislative resources pages:

  • Consumer Bag Tracking Matrix - provides an overview of consumer bag legislation across the United States by state and/or municipality, as applicable, for both paper and plastic bags.
  • Consumer Bag FAQ – details common questions posed by retailers on consumer bag legislation and provides suggested resources as guidance.
  • EPR Packaging Bills - an overview of recently introduced state EPR packaging legislation.

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