Maine passed the nation’s first Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging law in 2021 and Oregon and Colorado have joined since then, and many more states are working on similar legislation.
NRCM developed this toolkit to share our experience and materials with activists in other states so we can all work together to advance this effective solution for addressing wasteful packaging and plastic pollution. Please feel free to borrow these and tailor them for your own needs, or just use them for inspiration!
We know that the plastic industry and corporate lobbyists are trying to weaken EPR for Packaging proposals so it will be important for activists to push for an effective policy approach hand-in-hand with strong, unwavering advocacy.
We recommend you tailor each presentation to your audience and be consistent in delivering your top compelling messages. Here are some sample presentations that you may use as a template or inspiration. If you choose to borrow any information, please just note the source/credit.
- Why, Who, What, When, and How Maine Passed the First EPR for Packaging Law in the U.S.; a presentation for fellow advocates
- Sample public outreach presentation
- Resource Recycling Systems
- Eco Enterprises Quebec (EEQ)
Here are some examples of fact sheets and handouts used during the campaign to pass EPR for Packaging in Maine. If you’re finding that there is a common question about your policy that arises, it could be useful to have a handout on the matter available.
- What do municipalities need to know about Maine’s EPR program?
- What do businesses need to know about Maine’s EPR program?
- What do per-ton fees work out to be per unit (using Quebec 2020 fees as example)?
- What does one ton of packaging look like?
- Who are considered to be producers?
- Are EPR programs a cost-effective way to increase recycling?
- Does EPR for Packaging increase consumer prices?
- Should there be exemptions for drugs, medical devices, and childproof packaging?
- Maine Environmental Priorities Coalition EPR fact sheet
- NRCM EPR fact sheet
Media and Messaging
Passage of Maine’s EPR for Packaging law drew a lot of media attention, but before the bill passed, we spent a lot of time speaking with local reporters to discuss the details of our policy and connecting them to the people or messengers (businesses, municipalities) whose voices reinforced our key messages. In addition to these stories, we’ve included a couple of sample press releases for your reference. These stories also may be helpful resources for educating lawmakers and others in your state about the importance of EPR.
Examples of Opinion Media from Key Messengers
- Bangor Daily News: "Recycling bill would give towns needed relief"
- Central Maine Newspapers: "The problem of recycling in one small town in Maine"
- New York Times: “Maine Will Make Companies Pay for Recycling. Here’s How it Works”
- Washington Post: “Maine Becomes First State to Shift Costs of Recycling from Taxpayers to Companies”
- PBS News Hour: “How Maine is Transforming Who Pays for Recycling”
- ABC News: “Maine recycling law targets packaging waste in bid to save taxpayers and climate”
- CNBC: “Maine’s new recycling law makes producers of garbage pay”
- Grist: “Corporations tried to blame you for the plastic crisis. Now states are turning the tables.”
- Under the Radar: “Will Maine’s Innovative Packaging Law Help Fix America’s Recycling Problem?”
- Boston Globe: “In Maine, a move to make big companies pay for all their packaging”
- The Hill: “Maine shifting recycling costs to companies”
- Maine Public: “Maine Becomes First State That Will Make Businesses Pay for Packaging Waste”
- Bangor Daily News: “Janet Mills Signs 1st in nation bill to shift recycling costs to packaging producers”
- News Center Maine: “Maine Becomes First State in Country to Pass Law That Charges Corporations That Do Not Use Sustainable Packaging Materials”
- WMTW: “Gov. Mills Signs Bill to Shift Recycling Costs to Producers”
- Associated Press: “Maine Approves Law to Shift Recycling Costs to Producers”
- Cheddar News: “Maine moves recycling costs to waste producers to save taxpayers millions”
- Governing: “After China’s Recycling Ban, Municipalities Shift Gears”
- Bloomberg City Lab: “Getting manufacturers to help pay for recycling”
- Treehugger: “Maine is a trailblazer in holding companies accountable for recycling packaging waste”
- Fast Company: “Companies in Maine will now have to pay to fix the broken recycling system”
- Gizmodo: “Maine’s New Law Will Finally Make Companies Pay for Recycling"
- The Onion (satire): “Maine Becomes First State to Shift Recycling Costs From Taxpayers to Companies”
Sample Digital Communications
NRCM initially used an online petition to gather email addresses from supporters. We then used a combination of blogs, action alerts, and social media posts to keep people updated and to respond to opposition messaging, when it was beneficial to do so.
- Petition and campaign launch email
- EPR action alert 1
- EPR action alert 2
- EPR victory email
- EPR thank your lawmaker email
Sample Sign-on Letters, Petitions, and Municipal Resolutions
Here are examples of ways that you can collectively elevate voices of the EPR policy supporters and express that support to lawmakers in your state.
- NRCM petition signatures with comments
- Municipal resolutions in support of EPR in Maine
- Maine business support sign-on letter
- Industry sign-on letter from Colorado
- Elected official sign-on letter from Colorado
As the lead advocate in your state, you should aim to recruit many diverse supporters of your policy to speak up. We had three very successful EPR-related public hearings, which include opposition testimony on an ineffective EPR proposal. You’ll learn a lot about perspectives on EPR by reading these testimonies, and perhaps get inspiration for your own.
- All testimony on LD 1431, Resolve, To Support Municipal Recycling Programs; 4/18/2019
- All testimony on LD 2104, first EPR bill that was halted due to covid-19 disruption; 2/26/2020
- All testimony on LD 1541, the bill that ultimately became Maine’s EPR law combined with testimony on LD 1471, the AMERIPEN-backed EPR bill; 5/10/2021
- NRCM summary of public hearing on LD 1541 and LD 1471
- NRCM testimony on LD 1541
- NRCM opposition testimony on LD 1431
- YouTube recording of public hearing on May 10, 2021
- Maine’s EPR for Packaging statute
- Maine Department of Environmental Protection EPR for Packaging implementation
- Sustainable Packaging Coalition Guide to EPR proposals
- Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act
- Colorado’s Producer Responsibility Program for Recycling
- Eco Entreprises Quebec, legal and financial responsibilities of companies
- Video: The Story of Stuff: Should Plastic Producers Pay for Recycling?
- Video: Plastics: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
- Recycling Reform logo, blue bin
- Recycling Reform logo, banner
Please feel free to contact us to provide feedback or additional resources that we can share with others to make this the best resource possible.