Oregon Adopts Groundbreaking Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act
A new law in Oregon will update the state’s recycling systems to make recycling easier and more reliable, expand access to services and upgrade the facilities that sort recyclables. The Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act (Senate Bill 582), signed Aug. 6 by Gov. Kate Brown, will also ensure collected materials are recycled responsibly, and reduce social and environmental harms, such as plastic pollution.
“This new modernization law means that, once again, Oregon will be a national leader in innovative recycling,” said DEQ Director Richard Whitman. “A lot of people worked incredibly hard to get this legislation passed. When we come together and truly collaborate, as we did with this law, it’s amazing what we can accomplish as a state.”
The law requires packaging producers to share responsibility for effective management of their products after use. Oregon is the second state in the United States to adopt a producer responsibility policy for packaging. The new law requires establishing a single list of materials that can be recycled anywhere in Oregon, regardless of whether it is an urban or rural community. This will reduce consumer confusion about what can and can’t be placed in the recycling bin.
Facilities that process recyclable materials will be required to meet new performance standards, including improved material quality, more detailed reporting about where recyclables go, and paying living wages to facility workers. These processing facilities must send the sorted materials to end markets that can handle the material appropriately – without creating plastic pollution or other social harms. Producers will be obligated to help make sure materials collected in Oregon reach these responsible end markets.
The new law also creates a Governor-appointed advisory council that will review producer program plans, the statewide collection list and educational resources.
The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022. Program changes begin in July 2025 or later.
For more information, visit DEQ's Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act webpage.
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Read news release at State of Oregon.