Minnesota Passes Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging 

Minnesota just became the fifth state to pass Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging. The Packaging Waste & Cost Reduction Act (Rep Jordan / Sen Morrison), which was included as part of the larger Environment and Natural Resources Supplement Budget Omnibus bill, now heads to Governor Waltz for his signature. 

With strong implementation and oversight, this new program aims to reduce packaging, better support Minnesota’s recycling system, and holds producers accountable for much of the packaging waste that is impacting environmental and human health. 

The program will: 

  • Create a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO): The PRO is comprised of the largest producers of packaging sold in Minnesota. Members of the PRO will be required to pay fees based on the type and amount of packaging they are selling into the state. 
  • Utilize Producer Fees: These fees will be used to pay for most of the recycling cost for residents, schools, most non-profits, and government entities. The fees will also support additional increased access to recycling, composting and reuse services; fund public education; conduct a needs assessment every five years to evaluate the program’s impact on the waste stream; and cover the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) costs of implementing and enforcing the program. 
  • Establish Collection Lists: The program also requires the agency to create two collection lists – a curbside recyclability list and an alternative collection list. Based on the initial needs assessment and feedback from the public, the agency will determine the types of materials that can be recycled at the curbside and material that can be recycled through alternative methods of collection (such as store dropoffs). If a material is not on either list and is not reusable or compostable then it cannot be sold into the state after 2032. 
  • Mandate Packaging Redesign: Producers will be required to redesign their packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2032. However, the MPCA could approve specific materials for a deadline extension through 2040. 
  • Set Specific Targets: Producers will be required to meet specific targets for waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and postconsumer recycled content. These targets, set by the MPCA and based on findings in the needs assessment, will be updated every five years. 

Over the course of the legislative session, Eureka worked alongside our partners in the MN Zero Waste Coalition to strengthen the language in ways that aim to eliminate the most problematic and unnecessary packaging, prioritize reduction and reuse, and truly hold producers accountable for their packaging choices, while ensuring that the public will have a voice in the implementation process.  

Much of the program details will be informed by a third-party needs assessment (contracted by the state) and established in a Stewardship Plan that is written by the PRO but approved by the MPCA and the program’s Advisory Board. 

The public will have a chance to weigh in and inform the needs assessments and the Stewardship Plans. Considerable public advocacy efforts will be needed to ensure the strongest program is implemented.  

This will include advocating for: 

  • Establishing strong targets for waste reduction, reuse, recycling and post-consumer recycled content (PCRC); 
  • Ensuring enforcement of the statewide targets; 
  • Developing Curbside and Alternative Collection lists that eliminate the most problematic and toxic packaging; 
  • Implementing third-party certification of responsible end markets; 
  • Upholding open and transparent bidding for service providers; 
  • Guaranteeing equitable access to services across the state, including alternative collection programs; 
  • Providing clear and accurate assessments of the environmental impacts of different types of packaging materials; and 
  • Ensuring transparent and accurate reporting and enforcement mechanisms. 

With strong implementationthis new law can position Minnesota as a leading example for other states. We thank the bill authors, Representative Jordan and Senator Morrison, for their leadership on this bill and our coalition partners who continuously sent strong messages to the legislature on the need to address the packaging crisis.  

More from Eureka