PLASTICS Testifies in Support of Massachusetts EPR Commission Bill

December 14, 2021

Danielle Fortunato                                                        Massachusetts Legislature
Director, State Government Affairs                               JCENRA
Plastics Industry Association

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon, Chair Raush, Chair Dykema, Members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today in support of bill, House, No. 948 (H. 948).

My name is Danielle Fortunato, and I am the Director of State Government Affairs for the Plastics Industry Association.

We represent companies across the supply chain of the plastics manufacturing sector – which now employs nearly 1 million workers in the United States. Some of our members participate in the manufacturing of consumer packaging and printed materials as referenced in the bill.

First, we recognize the need for industry to play a role in any funding mechanism like extended producer responsibility (EPR) for improvements and modernization of recycling infrastructure in this country. Our organization and our members support a well-crafted producer responsibility program.

The commission created by H. 948 would lay the groundwork which would allow the Commonwealth to pursue such a proposal as it contains many important components of a successful extended producer responsibility program that should be studied before implementation.

H. 948 is written in a thoughtful way that will study seven key issues the commonwealth must understand before pursuing an EPR program; specifically, the study of existing recycling infrastructure in the commonwealth and the need for public education to reach target populations. Additionally, we greatly appreciate that the commission will be consulting with manufacturers of the covered products.

We believe any funding mechanism should be fair and equitable across materials and consider the impact of the full lifecycle of recyclable products.

Any fee that may be levied against a material or specific product should go into a non‐profit organization, controlled by a board of diverse stakeholders representing all affected industries, that dedicates the entirety of its funding to recycling infrastructure and organizational administration.

Any plan to fund recycling infrastructure should prioritize sorting and processing improvements to ensure collected material is able to be recycled economically.

In order to protect the stream of recyclable materials, legislation that is adopted to create a recycling infrastructure funding mechanism must also permit fair and open market access for all participating materials.

Funds collected and applied towards improving recycling infrastructure should be made available to public and private enterprises. Recycling expansion and improvement will be achieved through the work and innovation of both public and private entities.

America has a responsibility to modernize and expand its recycling infrastructure and the plastics industry stands ready to do its part to support and implement fair and reasonable funding mechanisms.

I want to applaud this committee for its attention to sustainability and offer our team and the insights of our members as resources as you deliberate the best ways to advance important public policy before you.

I very much appreciate your time today and would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.