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Colorado EPR Scheme Will Hurt State’s Recycling Efforts

CONTACT: Tim Ebner
(202) 463-2587, comm@afandpa.org

WASHINGTON – The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President & CEO Heidi Brock issued the following statement after Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed HB22-1355 into law, creating an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program that includes paper and paper-based packaging products:

“We are disappointed by the enactment of Colorado’s ‘Producer Responsibility Program for Recycling.’ Consistently high recycling rates, continuous industry investments and ongoing efforts to promote voluntary recycling are proof that paper recycling is a model that works. EPR is not the right policy approach for sustainable paper and paper-based packaging products.

“This EPR scheme does not account for the paper industry’s significant investments in manufacturing capacity utilizing recovered paper and commitment to recycling in Colorado. More paper by weight gets recycled from municipal waste streams each year than aluminum, glass, steel and plastic combined. Instead of taking these achievements into consideration, the legislation will effectively require our industry to subsidize programs for materials with lower recycling rates. It may disrupt successful paper recycling streams and impede our industry’s ability to invest in infrastructure. It could also raise costs for both Colorado consumers and small businesses.”

“This new law does not address systemic issues like barriers to recycling access, underfunded and underdeveloped recycling programs, and the lack of official guidance or municipal recycling governance. Colorado policymakers should work together to address these issues.”  

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The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. The forest products industry is circular by nature. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recycle resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative—Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $60 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at afandpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.