Producer Responsibility Recycling Bill Passes the CO House of Reps.

Media Contacts
Rex Wilmouth

Former Senior Program Director, Environment Colorado

DENVER – Building on successful programs in dozens of countries and recent action taken by Maine and Oregon, the bipartisan producer responsibility bill, HB22-1355, passed out of House of Representatives with a 38-27 vote. The bill will reduce plastic packaging and transform Colorado’s dismal recycling system, creating the infrastructure to collect and reuse valuable glass, aluminum and paper and the incentives for large companies to reduce the amount of non recyclable and unnecessary packaging that comes wrapped around products.  

The bill passed on a 38-27 vote.

“We need to reduce the amount of plastic we produce, especially all the unnecessary plastic packaging we don’t want and can’t avoid,” said Rex Wilmouth, Environment Colorado Senior Program Director. “We’ve all had the experience of ordering something online and having our package arrive only to discover numerous layers of individual plastic packaging that comes wrapped around different items in the box.”

What’s particularly frustrating is so much of this plastic is used once to wrap something but then stays with us for centuries. Plastic takes hundreds of years to biodegrade if it ever does. In Colorado, we only recycle 9% of the plastic containers and packaging in the state and most plastics are not easy to recycle.  

For too long, manufacturers of plastic have put the responsibility of dealing with plastic – recycling and disposal – on the shoulders of individuals and local communities once they’re done being used. We need to reduce unnecessary waste and stop allowing producers to pass the responsibility of plastics’ end-life costs off to us to deal with it. 

HB-1355 will put the responsibility of dealing with this plastic waste back onto the producers of this packaging. “If they have the responsibility for the plastics that can’t be reused or recycled easily, they’ll stop producing a lot of it to begin with,” said Wilmouth.

HB22-1355 heads next to the Senate.