At a time when small businesses continue to struggle after the costly and devastating pandemic, the General Assembly should not pass legislation that drives up the cost of doing business.
NFIB, representing its more than 7,500 independent member businesses in New Jersey, has serious concerns with current legislation in Trenton (S-426 – Extended Producer Responsibility) that would require producers of packaging products sold in the state to implement packaging product stewardship plans. While NFIB supports efforts to recycle materials and reduce waste in our landfills, this legislation has an extraordinary scope that would significantly increase packaging costs impacting all businesses.
The legislation requires producers, including manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to fund Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs) that are responsible for end-of-life management on a variety of packaging products, paper, plastics, metal, and glass. While there are interim steps, ultimately the PROs must ensure that all packaging products sold, distributed, or imported into the state by the PRO’s members are compostable or recyclable by January 1, 2034 and are recycled at a rate of at least 65% by January 1, 2036.
While the PRO’s will be self-funded by business product producer members, the proposed law anticipates violations by businesses as it creates a “Packaging Reduction and Recycling Fund” as a separate item in Treasury to collect all penalties and amounts related to violations. The Commissioner of Environment Protection would have the ability to assess civil violations up to $10,000 a day creating a new bureaucracy.
At a time when small businesses continue to struggle after the costly and devastating pandemic, New Jersey should not pass legislation that drives up the cost of doing business. Instead, policymakers should take a step back, gather input from all stakeholders, and truly examine how to improve the recycling system while mitigating costs to small businesses. For these reasons, NFIB opposes S-426.