Sustainable Packaging Legislation

Several U.S. states have recently passed regulations to compel consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to make their packaging more sustainable and recyclable. Below is a map of these states and a brief description of the rules.

At Berlin Packaging, we partner with our customers to find packaging solutions that optimize sustainability, brand impact, and performance. Our holistic sustainability approach combines deep subject matter expertise with practical commercial experience to strengthen your brand and grow your bottom line. We offer an expansive suite of sustainability services, ranging from sourcing post-consumer recycled (PCR) content and assessing product life-cycle emissions to designing custom packaging and providing sustainability reporting and communications expertise.

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for a review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney. It is the customer's responsibility to determine whether its filled product is subject to any applicable government regulations and to ensure compliance with such regulations.

Robert Swinetek

By: Robert Swientek
Date: April 20, 2023

U.S. map of states with PCR packaging, EPR packaging, and bottle bills
Key for U.S. map of states with PCR packaging, EPR packaging, and bottle bills

Below, we break down the U.S. states with EPR, PCR, and recent Bottle Bill/Container Deposit packaging laws on the books.


Plastic Minimum Content Standards (AB 793)

The law requires plastic beverage bottles from beverage manufacturers sold in the state to contain at least 15% PCR by 2022, 25% PCR by 2025, and 50% PCR by 2030. It also requires beverage manufacturers to annually report virgin plastic and PCR plastic usage by pounds and resin type.

AB 793 is an amendment to the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act. Passed in 1986, this law requires glass beverage containers to contain at least 35% PCR (or 25% PCR if 50% is composed of a certified mixed-color cullet).

SB 54: Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act

The law creates an extended producer responsibility organization (PRO) and program to compel CPG companies and plastic resin manufacturers to pay for improvements in package recycling and plastic pollution abatement in the state. From 2027–2037, the PRO will collect $500 million/year from CPG companies for a plastic pollution mitigation fund and will also collect up to $150 million from plastic resin makers. By 2032, the law requires 100% of packaging in the state to be recyclable or compostable, a 25% reduction in plastic packaging, and 65% of all single-use plastic packaging to be recycled.


Producer Responsibility Program for Statewide Recycling Act

The law establishes a producer responsibility program and organization, which requires consumer packaged goods companies to pay annual dues to fully fund a statewide recycling program for packaging. The dues will be based on the type and volume of packaging sold and distributed in the state. CPG companies must participate in the program by 2025 and pay dues in 2026.


The Connecticut Bottle Bill

The law expands the state's container deposit program in 2023 to cover hard seltzer, hard cider, and a variety of non-carbonated ready-to-drink beverages, such as juice, tea, coffee, kombucha, plant-infused drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks. Glass, plastic, and metal packaging are subject to the deposit. Beginning in 2024, the 5-cent deposit on all covered products will increase to 10 cents.

Ten U.S. states maintain deposit-refund systems for beverage packaging. For more details, please visit


Stewardship Program for Packaging

The law establishes an EPR and stewardship program, which requires producers of consumer packaged goods to bear most of the costs of recycling and waste disposal programs in the state. Brand owners selling consumer packaged goods will pay fees on all packaging materials based on the recycling costs for each material. Fee payments are expected to begin in 2026.

New Jersey

Recycled Content Law (P.L. 2021, c. 391)

The law mandates minimum PCR content in plastic and glass packaging sold by consumer packaged goods companies. By 2024, single-use plastic beverage bottles sold in the state must contain, on average, at least 15% PCR content and all other rigid plastic containers must contain, on average, at least 10% PCR. The amount of PCR content increases by 5% every three years (20% in 2027, 25% in 2030, and so on) for beverage bottles and 10% every three years (20% in 2027, 30% in 2030, and so on) for all other rigid plastic containers until reaching a 50% threshold. Starting in 2024, all glass containers filled with foods or beverages sold in the state are required to contain, on average, at least 35% post-consumer recycled content.


Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act

The law establishes a producer responsibility program for packaging, paper products, and food service ware. Brand owners selling consumer packaged goods will pay membership fees to a producer responsibility organization (PRO) to support the improvement and expansion of recycling programs and infrastructure statewide. The fees will be based on several factors, including recyclability, use of post-consumer recycled content, and product-to-package ratios. Packaged goods producers must join by July 1, 2025.


2021 Plastics Law

The law mandates most beverage bottles contain 15% PCR by 2023, 25% by 2026, and 50% by 2031. Household cleaning and personal care products are required to contain 15% PCR by 2025, 25% by 2028, and 50% by 2031.

If you're looking for sustainable packaging solutions for your business, request a packaging consultation today.