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DENVER — Building on successful programs in dozens of countries and recent action taken by Maine and Oregon, the Colorado Senate passed on Wednesday a bipartisan producer responsibility bill. The bill, which passed the Senate with a 21-14 vote, will head to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk. If signed into law, Colorado would become the third state in the country to pass a producer responsibility law.
The bill (HB22-1355) aims to reduce plastic packaging and improve Colorado’s lagging recycling system, creating the infrastructure to collect and reuse valuable glass, aluminum and paper and incentives for large companies to reduce the amount of non recyclable and unnecessary packaging that comes wrapped around products.
CoPIRG and Environment Colorado have been a strong advocate for producer responsibility, helping to build support by holding meetings and testifying on behalf of the bill, and organizing students to support the legislation and stand up against plastic waste.
In response, CoPIRG Executive Director Danny Katz released the following statement:
“Too often, as consumers, we’re inundated by all the packaging — much of it unnecessary— that comes with our stuff. Add to that Colorado’s poor recycling infrastructure and that means 85% of our waste winds up in landfills, even if we could have recycled or reused it. Producer responsibility will help cut down on the amount of unnecessary packaging that is flooding into our lives. It will also fund a robust recycling system to ensure the stuff that wraps our goods is more recyclable and that more of it is collected and reused.”
Environment Colorado Senior Program Director Rex Wilmouth issued the following statement:
“Environment Colorado applauds the Colorado legislature for taking action to address our state’s rising tide of plastic waste. If enacted, this legislation will help reduce the amount of plastic we produce, especially unnecessary single-use packaging, and ultimately how much plastic waste we throw away.
“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. Colorado’s producer responsibility bill will make important changes to make producers responsible for cleaning up plastic waste.
“Now, when manufacturers are held responsible for the plastics that can’t be reused or recycled easily, they’ll stop producing so much of it in the first place. The Colorado Legislature has done its part. We now urge Gov. Jared Polis to sign producer responsibility into law.”
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