Producer Responsibility Program For Recycling
On or before June 1, 2023, the executive director (executive director) of the Colorado department of public health and environment (department) must designate a nonprofit organization (organization) to implement and manage a statewide program (program) that provides recycling services to covered entities in the state, which are defined as residences, public places, small businesses, schools, hospitality locations, and state and local government buildings. The program is funded by annual dues (producer responsibility dues) paid by producers of products that use covered materials (producers). Covered materials are defined as packaging materials and paper products.
The act creates the producer responsibility program for statewide recycling advisory board (advisory board), which consists of members who have expertise in recycling programs and are knowledgeable about recycling services in the different geographic regions of the state.
Prior to the implementation of the program, the organization must:
- On or before September 1, 2023, hire an independent third party to conduct an assessment of the recycling services currently provided in the state and the recycling needs in the state that are not being met (needs assessment);
- On or before January 30, 2024, report the results of the needs assessment to the advisory board and the executive director;
- On or before March 15, 2024, submit and present the needs assessment to the joint budget committee; and
- On or before February 1, 2025, after soliciting input from the advisory board and other key stakeholders, submit a plan proposal for the program (plan proposal) to the advisory board and executive director.
The plan proposal will initially cover recycling services only for residential covered entities. The plan proposal must:
- Describe how the organization will meet certain convenience standards and statewide recycling, collection, and postconsumer-recycled-content rates (rates);
- Establish a funding mechanism through the collection of producer responsibility dues that covers the organization's costs in implementing the program and the costs of the department in overseeing the program;
- Establish an objective formula to reimburse 100% of the net recycling services costs of public and private recycling service providers (providers) performing services under the program;
- Provide a list of covered materials (minimum recyclable list) that providers performing services under the program must collect to be eligible for reimbursement under the program;
- Set minimum rate targets that the state will strive to meet by January 1, 2030, and January 1, 2035, and describe how the state can meet increased rates after 2035; and
- Describe a process and timeline, beginning no later than 2028, to expand recycling services to applicable nonresidential covered entities.
As part of the program, the organization must:
- Utilize and expand on providers' existing recycling services to provide statewide recycling services at no charge to covered entities for all covered materials on the minimum recyclable list;
- Develop and implement a statewide education and outreach program on the recycling and reuse of covered materials;
- Contract with an independent third party to conduct an annual audit of the program; and
- Submit an annual report to the advisory board describing the progress of the program (annual report).
On January 1, 2025, and each January 1 thereafter, as an alternative to participating in the program, a producer may submit an individual plan proposal to the advisory board. The advisory board will review and make recommendations on, and the executive director shall approve or reject, the individual plan proposal.
The act establishes the producer responsibility program for statewide recycling administration fund (fund). On or before June 30, 2026, and on each June 30 thereafter, the department will notify the organization of its costs in overseeing and enforcing the program, and the organization will transmit a portion of the producer responsibility dues to the fund for the purposes of reimbursing the department for its costs.
Effective July 1, 2025, a producer may not sell or distribute any products that use covered materials in the state unless the producer is participating in the program or, after January 1, 2029, as set forth in the final plan or another plan approved by the executive director.
The advisory board has the following duties:
- Advise the organization on the needs assessment;
- Review the needs assessment;
- Review the plan proposal and make recommendations to the executive director regarding its approval or rejection;
- Consult with the organization on any amendments to the plan proposal and then make recommendations to the executive director regarding approval or rejection of the amendments;
- Review the annual report submitted by the organization; and
- Consult with the organization on the development and updating of the minimum recyclable list.
The act establishes an administrative penalty for the organization's or a producer's violation of the relevant statutes and rules. The collected penalties are deposited into the recycling resources economic opportunity fund.
For the 2022-23 fiscal year, $119,130 is appropriated from the general fund to the department to implement the act, of which $20,503 is reappropriated to the department of law to provide legal services for the department.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)