The Ultimate Guide to EPR Laws for Packaging in the US: Ensuring Compliance and Driving Sustainable Practices

As the world grapples with the mounting plastic pollution crisis, governments across the globe are implementing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws to hold manufacturers accountable for the end-of-life management of their products and packaging. In the United States, EPR laws have gained significant traction, with several states enacting legislation to reduce waste and promote sustainable practices. This comprehensive guide aims to provide businesses with a deep understanding of EPR laws for packaging in the US, ensuring compliance and driving sustainable practices.

Understanding EPR Laws for Packaging

EPR laws for packaging are designed to shift the responsibility for managing post-consumer waste from municipalities and taxpayers to the producers and brand owners. These laws typically require manufacturers to finance and manage the collection, recycling, and disposal of their packaging materials, incentivizing them to design more sustainable and easily recyclable packaging solutions.

Key Components of EPR Laws for Packaging

  1. Producer Responsibility: Manufacturers and brand owners are held responsible for the end-of-life management of their packaging materials, including collection, recycling, and disposal.
  2. Financing Mechanisms: EPR laws often establish financing mechanisms, such as advance disposal fees or producer responsibility organizations (PROs), to fund the collection and recycling of packaging waste.
  3. Performance Goals: Many EPR laws set specific targets for recycling rates, diversion from landfills, and other performance metrics to drive continuous improvement in waste management practices.
  4. Reporting and Transparency: Producers are typically required to report on their packaging materials, recycling rates, and compliance efforts, promoting transparency and accountability.

EPR Laws for Packaging in the US: State-by-State Overview

While there is no comprehensive federal EPR law for packaging in the US, several states have taken the lead in implementing their own legislation. Here’s a state-by-state overview of the most significant EPR laws for packaging:


California’s Rigid Plastic Packaging Container (RPPC) law requires manufacturers to pay a fee to support the state’s recycling infrastructure for rigid plastic packaging containers.


Oregon’s Plastic Recycling and Recovery Act establishes a producer responsibility program for plastic packaging, requiring manufacturers to join a PRO and finance the collection and recycling of their packaging materials.


Maine’s EPR law for packaging, effective in 2024, requires producers to join a PRO and finance the collection and recycling of their packaging materials, including plastic, glass, metal, and paper.


Colorado’s EPR law for packaging, effective in 2025, establishes a producer responsibility program for packaging materials, including plastic, glass, metal, and paper.

Other States

Several other states, including Washington, Vermont, and New Jersey, are considering or have proposed EPR laws for packaging.

Compliance and Sustainable Packaging Solutions

Complying with EPR laws for packaging requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses product design, material selection, and end-of-life management strategies. By partnering with Source Green, a leading plastic-free sustainable packaging sourcing platform, marketplace, and consultant, businesses can access a wide range of eco-friendly packaging solutions tailored to meet their needs while ensuring compliance with EPR laws.

Source Green’s extensive product catalog includes compostable food containers, biodegradable utensils, reusable shopping bags, and more, empowering businesses to embrace sustainability without compromising functionality or convenience. Additionally, Source Green’s expert consultants can guide businesses through the complexities of EPR laws, providing tailored solutions and strategies to minimize their environmental impact and stay ahead of regulatory changes.

What’s next for your business?

As EPR laws for packaging continue to gain momentum across the United States, businesses must prioritize sustainable practices and compliance to remain competitive and environmentally responsible. By understanding the intricacies of these laws, embracing eco-friendly packaging solutions, and partnering with reputable providers like Source Green, companies can not only comply with regulations but also contribute to a cleaner, greener future for generations to come.

By prioritizing sustainable packaging solutions and adopting a circular economy approach, businesses can not only reduce their waste footprint but also meet the growing consumer demand for environmentally responsible products. Visit our marketplace to explore our range of sustainable packaging options and consultancy services tailored to your industry. Refer to our Source Green Whitepaper for comprehensive solutions to transition your business to plastic-free and sustainable packaging alternatives.

Contact to audit your packaging and explore sustainable alternatives. We provide expert sustainable packaging consulting services for companies of all sizes and industries. Additionally, we offer comprehensive market research services, deal due diligence for investment funds, market overviews, and research reports. Our team can also assist with thought leadership, community engagement, corporate workshops, keynote and panel speaking, expert opinions for media, and innovation sourcing through startup scouting. Partner with us to elevate your sustainability strategy and drive impactful change.

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