HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO THE ENVIRONMENT.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Hawaii does not have a sustainable solid waste management system. Most waste created in the State is landfilled or incinerated, which represents a linear waste stream, is costly, and creates pollution that is harmful to the health of the environment and to the residents of the State. Landfills discharge leachate, a contaminated and often highly toxic fluid, which has the potential for leakage that can harm groundwater, surrounding communities, and the nearshore and marine resources downslope. On Oahu, the landfill produces around nine thousand eight hundred gallons of leachate per day, where the potential for leakage of leachate threatens Oahu's drinking water supply. Waste that is incinerated can be used to produce energy, but this process still produces air pollutants, greenhouse gases, and toxic ash, as more than four hundred tons of toxic ash from H-Power are buried in the landfill every day.
A linear waste management system is characterized by a take-make-dispose model, where virgin resources are extracted and goods are produced and then discarded, leading to waste production and the depletion of resources. In a linear waste economy, taxpayers and their local government bear the costs associated with waste management. In contrast, a circular waste economy is designed to keep resources in use for as long as possible, reducing waste and promoting sustainability. A circular waste economy prioritizes waste reduction and creates a closed-loop system where producers are accountable for the cost of disposal of their products, creating market-based incentives for waste reduction and product redesign that reduces waste at the source and facilitates reuse, composting, and recycling.
A zero-waste initiative in Hawaii would elevate these circular waste economy principles and put them at the center of the State's waste management strategies. It would redirect state agencies tasked with overseeing solid waste management to prioritize source reduction, reuse, refill, organic waste diversion, and the improvement of recycling services for waste that cannot be avoided or reused.
The adoption of a zero-waste initiative would lead the shift away from the linear waste system and toward a circular waste economy that is more sustainable, will create green jobs, and will reduce costs for waste management that are currently borne by taxpayers. It would also address environmental and public health concerns posed by Hawaii's overflowing landfills.
Extended producer responsibility is an essential component of a circular waste economy, as it places shared responsibility for a product's lifecycle, including end-of-life management, onto the producers of the product. This encourages more sustainable product design that leads to less waste and more reusable and fully recyclable products.
Extended producer responsibility programs can exist for almost any product type. There are existing programs in other jurisdictions that cover a range of products including carpets, large appliances, e-waste, packaging waste, prescription drugs, batteries, paint, pesticides, tires, photovoltaic panels, used motor oil, and mattresses. Under these programs, producers are responsible for ensuring that services are available to reclaim and recycle products when they reach the end of their useful life. Countless tons of waste and virgin resources are avoided when these programs are implemented. Additionally, extended producer responsibility programs for packaging waste exist in Europe and Canada and in recent years have been adopted in California, Colorado, Maine, and Oregon, and proposed in many other state legislatures.
The goal of this Act is to lay the foundation for the creation of a sustainable future for Hawaii and its residents by reducing waste, minimizing resource inputs, and promoting a closed-loop system through reuse and recycling that will benefit the environment and the economy.
The purpose of this Act is to protect the environment and reduce costs to taxpayers by establishing a Hawaii zero waste initiative and a process for developing a packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program, with participation and funding from large producers of consumer packaged goods. The program shall be developed through a multi-step process, which includes the department of health, counties, an advisory council, and producers.
Specifically, this Act:
(1) Establishes the Hawaii zero waste initiative within the department of health with the goal of zero waste deposited in landfills or incinerated;
(2) Allows producers to establish a nonprofit producer responsibility organization to provide recommendations to the department of health on how to prioritize reducing and reusing packaging, which packaging will be designated for recycling, and necessary infrastructure for producers to achieve packaging reduction and reuse goals;
(3) Establishes the packaging waste advisory council composed of relevant stakeholders to advise the department of health on the statewide needs assessment and proposal and draft legislation for the implementation of a packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program;
(4) Requires the department of health, in collaboration with each county, the advisory council, and nonprofit producer responsibility organization, to conduct a statewide needs assessment;
(5) Requires the department of health, in collaboration with the advisory council and nonprofit producer responsibility organization, to develop a proposal for the implementation of a producer-funded packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program to achieve the goal of seventy per cent reduction in packaging waste deposited in landfills or incinerated in the State by 2035;
(6) Requires the department of health to submit draft legislation to implement the producer-funded packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program, based on the needs assessment and input from the advisory council and nonprofit producer responsibility organization, to the legislature by December 31, 2026; and
(7) Appropriates funds for the packaging waste advisory council.
SECTION 2. As used in this Act:
"Advisory council" means the packaging waste advisory council established pursuant to section 342G-C.
"Baseline amount" means the weight and number of items of packaging waste each county determines was sent to its landfills, a power plant that burns municipal solid waste as a fuel, or both, during calendar year 2024.
"Brand" means a name, symbol, word, or mark that identifies a product, rather than its components, and attributes the product to the owner of the brand.
"Consumer packaged goods" means a product that is sold quickly, such as prepared food and beverages in food service, packaged foods, non-deposit beverages, household cleaning products, toiletries, personal care products, cosmetics, over-the-counter drugs, pet supplies, and other products, as determined by the department upon considering the recommendations of the advisory council.
"Covered producer" means a packaging producer selling a large amount of consumer packaged goods in the State, as determined by the department upon considering the recommendations of the advisory council. "Covered producer" does not include:
(1) Producers of low or medium amounts as defined by rule by the department; or
(2) Any other producer as determined by the department pursuant to this Act.
"Department" means the department of health.
"Packaging" means any separable and distinct material component used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery, or presentation of goods by the producer for the user or consumer, ranging from raw materials to processed goods. "Packaging" includes but is not limited to the following:
(1) Sales packaging or primary packaging intended to provide to the user or consumer the individual serving or unit of the product and most closely containing the product, food, or beverage;
(2) Grouped packaging or secondary packaging intended to bundle, sell in bulk, brand, or display the product;
(3) Transport packaging or tertiary packaging intended to protect the product during transport to consumer markets or directly to consumers; and
(4) Packaging components and ancillary elements integrated into packaging, including ancillary elements directly hung onto or attached to a product and that perform a packaging function.
"Packaging reduction" means the reduction of the weight and number of items of packaging used to provide products for consumption.
"Packaging waste" means the part of solid waste that consists of packaging and packaging material, including plastic food containers; liquid containers made of plastic, glass, aluminum, or steel; flexible plastic containers; plastic film; cardboard; paperboard; and paper.
"Person" means any individual, partnership, firm, association, public or private corporation, limited liability company, nonprofit organization, public benefit corporation, public authority, federal agency, the State or any of its political subdivisions, trust, estate, or any other legal entity.
"Producer", with respect to packaging material, means a person, except for the State or any of its political subdivisions, that:
(1) Has legal ownership of the brand of a product sold, offered for sale, or distributed for sale in or into the State contained, protected, delivered, presented, or distributed in or using packaging material; or
(2) Is the sole entity that imports into the State for sale, offer for sale, or distribution for sale in or into the State a product contained, protected, delivered, presented, or distributed in or using packaging material that is branded by a person that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) and has no physical presence in the United States.
"Producer" includes a low-volume producer and a franchisor of a franchise located in the State. "Producer" does not include the franchisee operating a franchise located in the State or a nonprofit organization exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
"Producer responsibility organization" means a nonprofit 501(c)(3) entity:
(1) That producers may form to help assist individual producers with complying with the requirements of this part; and
(2) Whose role may be determined through the process described in this Act.
"Recycle" or "recycling" means the process of collecting, sorting, cleansing, treating, and reconstituting materials that would otherwise ultimately be disposed of onto land or into water or the atmosphere, and returning the materials to, or maintaining the materials within, the economic mainstream in the form of recovered material for new, reused, or reconstituted products, including compost, that meet the quality standards necessary to be used in the marketplace. To be considered recycled, covered material shall be sent to a responsible end market. "Recycle" or "recycling" does not include:
(1) Energy recovery or energy generation by any means, including but not limited to fuel production, except for anaerobic digestion of source separated organic materials; advanced recycling; chemical recycling; combustion; gasification; incineration; pyrolysis; solvolysis; thermal desorption, waste-to-energy; waster-to-fuel; or any other chemical or molecular conversion process; or
(2) Landfill disposal of discarded material or discarded product component materials, including the use of materials as landfill cover.
"Returnable" means a type of packaging that can be conveniently returned by consumers after use as part of a system that provides for the collection and refill of the package by a business.
"Reusable" means a type of packaging that is returnable and is sufficiently durable for multiple rotations of its original or similar purpose or function in a system of reuse.
"Reusable packaging" means packaging that is:
(1) Non-toxic, meaning that it does not contain harmful chemical, physical, biological, or radiological substance that will pose a threat to human health or the environment;
(2) Safe for washing and sanitizing according to applicable state food safety laws; and
(3) Part of a system that achieves multiple cycles of use, equitable access, and reduce waste.
"Reuse and refill" means the return into the marketplace of a covered material that:
(1) Has already been used in the same manner as originally intended without a change in the covered material's purpose; and
(2) Was intended to be used for its original purpose at least five times.
"Zero waste" means the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.
SECTION 3. (a) There is established within the department a Hawaii zero waste initiative with the goal of sending zero waste to the landfill or to incineration.
(b) Under the Hawaii zero waste initiative, the department shall:
(1) Facilitate a transition from a linear waste economy to a circular waste economy;
(2) Establish policies and programs that reduce waste and consumption and maximize reuse, refill, composting, and recycling;
(3) Seek to reduce the amount of toxic and hazardous waste that is imported into the State and poses a risk to air quality, water quality, and groundwater resources and otherwise creates dangerous pollution when used or disposed of;
(4) Where feasible, seek market-based solutions that internalize the external costs to producers that have been borne by taxpayers in the past, beginning with considering programs for products that have successful extended producer responsibility programs in other jurisdictions, including but not limited to carpets, large appliances, electronic waste, packaging waste, prescription drugs, batteries, paint, pesticides, tires, photovoltaic panels, used motor oil, and mattresses;
(5) Seek to learn from policies implemented in other jurisdictions, while also considering the State's unique needs and the needs of each county;
(6) Work with other state agencies, counties, and the private sector to implement the Hawaii zero waste initiative;
(7) Conduct public outreach and education statewide about the Hawaii zero waste initiative; and
(8) Provide an annual report to the legislature on the progress and implementation of the Hawaii zero waste initiative.
SECTION 4. (a) On or before January 1, 2025, the department shall establish a packaging waste advisory council, which shall advise the department on the needs assessment and packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling plan required by this Act.
(b) The advisory council shall:
(1) Incorporate lessons learned and discussions from other states and the federal government that are pursuing or have passed parallel efforts to implement producer responsibility legislation in advising the department in how to structure the State's program by analyzing the following scenarios:
(A) Producer responsibility in Hawaii independent or other state and federal packaging initiatives; and
(B) Producer responsibility for packaging in Hawaii in conjunction or synchronicity with other state and federal initiatives; as called for by the plastic source reduction working group report created pursuant to Act 254, Session Laws of Hawaii 2019;
(2) Provide recommendations to the department on how to provide incentives to producers to prevent waste at the source, promote product redesign for environmental protection, and support public recycling and materials management goals, as called for by the plastics source reduction working group report created pursuant to Act 254, Session Laws of Hawaii 2019;
(3) Consult with a nonprofit producer responsibility organization, if one exists;
(4) Provide recommendations to the department on how best to achieve a seventy per cent reduction by 2035 in packaging waste sent to landfills or incinerated;
(5) Advise the department in the development of a producer-funded packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program that addresses the following:
(A) The size of producers to be included as covered producers engaged in the packaging waste reduction, reuse, and recycling program;
(B) The methodology utilized to determine the amount of fees collected from producers;
(C) The metrics to be used to determine the amount of packaging generated by each producer and for subsequent reporting; provided that weight alone shall not be considered a sufficient metric since transitioning to single-use plastic to meet the requirements of reduction is not considered acceptable;
(D) The covered products to include in the packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program;
(E) The packaging material requirements that producers shall follow and the timeline for meeting such requirements; and
(F) The roles and responsibilities of the department and nonprofit producer responsibility organization, if one exists, in the administration of the packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program; and
(6) Perform any relevant analysis and make appropriate recommendations for the legislature, department, counties, and other stakeholders in developing criteria for reuse and refill programs.
The advisory council's recommendations shall include how to fund and support each county to develop and integrate new programming, or expand existing programming, to achieve the goals of the packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program.
(c) The advisory council shall consist of the following members:
(1) The director of health or the director's designee, who shall serve as the chair of the advisory council;
(2) The chairs of the standing committees in the senate and the house of representatives with primary subject matter jurisdiction over the environment or the chairs' designees;
(3) A representative from the city and county of Honolulu department of environmental services with experience in sustainable waste management;
(4) A representative from the county of Maui department of environmental management with experience in sustainable waste management;
(5) A representative from the county of Kauai department of public works with experience in sustainable waste management;
(6) A representative from the county of Hawaii department of environmental management with experience in sustainable waste management;
(7) One representative of a community organization in each of the four counties that has focused on packaging waste reduction, selected by the chair;
(8) One expert in governmental activities regarding programs to achieve packaging waste reduction nationally and internationally, selected by the chair;
(9) Two representatives of large producers of packaging waste from consumer packaging goods sold or distributed in the State, selected by the chair;
(10) One representative of a packaging manufacturer of consumer packaging goods sold or distributed in the State, selected by the chair;
(11) One representative from a Hawaii small business that manufactures products in the State, selected by the chair;
(12) Two national experts in reusable packaging who are not affiliated with any packaging producers in Hawaii, selected by the chair; and
(13) Two representatives from recycling and waste hauling businesses working in Hawaii, selected by the chair.
If a nonprofit producer responsibility organization is formed, the chair shall select a person to be a representative of the producer responsibility organization, who shall serve as a nonvoting member.
(d) The members of the advisory council shall serve for two-year terms and may be reappointed by the chair. The members shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed by the department for expenses, including travel expenses, necessary for the performance of their duties.
(e) The chair shall determine how often the advisory council shall meet. The council meetings shall be open to the public and shall be subject to chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes. The department shall provide administrative support to the advisory council. The department may hire a facilitator to administer the advisory council.
SECTION 5. (a) Producers may collaborate to form a nonprofit producer responsibility organization to express the producers' viewpoints to the advisory council and department and determine funding and management for their joint efforts. If a nonprofit producer responsibility organization is formed, the organization may provide recommendations to the department on how to prioritize reducing and reusing packaging where feasible, which packaging will be designated for recycling, and the infrastructure that will be needed in the State to enable its member-producers to achieve packaging reduction and reuse goals.
(b) If created, the nonprofit producer responsibility organization shall, among other tasks and functions, assist the department with reporting requirements and managing the program by:
(1) Registering all participating producers;
(2) Collecting and compiling data from participating producers to assist the department with the administration of the requirements of this Act; and
(3) Offer technical support to participating producers to assist participating producers with compliance with this Act.
SECTION 6. (a) The department, in collaboration with each county, the advisory council, and the nonprofit producer responsibility organization, if it exists, shall conduct a statewide needs assessment, which shall detail the processing capabilities, collection systems, infrastructure, and other resources needed to reduce packaging waste from each respective county's baseline amount by seventy per cent by 2035, recognizing that each county faces different challenges; provided that for a county with a population greater than five hundred thousand:
(1) The needs assessment shall detail the resources needed to reduce the county's packaging waste that the county sends to a landfill or to a power plant that burns municipal solid waste as a fuel; and
(2) The county shall categorize its resource needs by method of packaging waste disposal.
(b) The needs assessment shall address the following:
(1) The types of materials being used for packaging by product type;
(2) Viable reusable and alternative packaging solutions for locally made and imported products;
(3) Opportunities for the creation of packaging reuse and refill programs in the State and the cost to develop those programs;
(4) Opportunities for the improvement of packaging recycling, including the development of local end markets for recycled packaging materials and the costs of developing those programs;
(5) Current barriers affecting the creation and implementation of packaging reuse, refill, and recycling programs;
(6) The current recycling rate for each type of packaging material;
(7) The programs and infrastructure, including the development of local processing and separation facilities, that are needed in the State to recycle packaging waste and the costs of developing and running those programs;
(8) The needs within each county to improve packaging materials collection and sorting systems for reuse and recycling;
(9) The state and county staffing needs to support the packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program;
(10) The net cost of end-of-life management of discarded packaging in the State, including the cost associated with the collection, transportation, sortation, recycling, landfilling, or incineration of discarded packaging;
(11) Current barriers to the marketability of recyclable materials generated in the State;
(12) Current barriers affecting recycling access and availability in the State;
(13) The processing capacity, market conditions, and opportunities in the State and regionally for recyclable materials; and
(14) Consumer education needs in the State with respect to packaging waste reduction, recycling, reducing contamination in recycling, and reuse and refill systems for packaging.
(c) The department shall prepare the needs assessment after considering any recommendations made by the counties, the nonprofit producer responsibility organization, if it exists, and the advisory council.
(d) The department shall use the needs assessment to develop proposed legislation to implement a producer-funded packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program; provided that priority shall be given to packaging reuse and refill programs.
(e) The department may contract with a third party for assistance in preparing the needs assessment. The department may charge covered producers or a producer responsibility organization, if it exists, for reimbursement of the department's costs for the needs assessment.
SECTION 7. (a) The department shall, after collaboration with the advisory council and nonprofit producer responsibility organization, if one exists, develop a proposal to implement a packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program to achieve the goal of a seventy per cent reduction of the amount of packaging waste deposited in landfills or incinerated in the State by 2035. The department's program proposal shall specify:
(1) How to determine covered producers and covered products; provided that the department shall consider typical exemptions from other extended producer responsibility programs, such as producers that:
(A) Make less than a $5,000,000 in annual gross revenue; or
(B) Use less than a certain amount of covered packaging material to sell, distribute, and market their products annually;
(2) How fees shall be set and deposited into the packaging waste special fund;
(3) How reduction shall be measured; and
(4) Reporting requirements for the producers;
provided that reduction shall not be measured solely by reducing the weight of packaging as it is against the goals of the State to increase the use of single-use plastics. The program proposal shall be informed by the results of the needs assessment and shall take into account all input provided by the advisory council, the public, and the nonprofit producer responsibility organization, if it exists.
(b) By July 1, 2026, the department shall issue a draft program proposal designed to achieve a seventy per cent reduction of packaging waste deposited in landfills or incinerated in the State by 2035 for review and comment by the advisory council. Within sixty calendar days after receiving the draft program proposal, the advisory council shall provide recommendations based on majority vote.
Any advisory council member who does not endorse the recommendations of the council may submit a separate written recommendation to the department reflecting a minority opinion. The department shall consider the recommendations of the advisory council and the nonprofit producer responsibility organization, if it exists, in developing the final draft legislation. By December 31, 2026, the department shall propose legislation to implement the producer-funded packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling program.
SECTION 8. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2023-2024 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2024-2025 to fund and manage the packaging waste advisory council established by this Act, including any facilitator.
The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of health for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 9. This Act shall take effect on June 30, 3000.
Packaging Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling Plan and Program; DOH; Producer; Appropriation
Establishes the Hawaii Zero Waste Initiative to, among other things, manage the State's transition to a zero solid waste economy. Establishes the Packaging Waste Advisory Council. Allows the establishment of a nonprofit producer responsibility organization. Requires the Department of Health to develop an assessment of statewide needs to determine the resources required to reduce packaging waste by seventy per cent from the baseline amount by 2035 and develop a program proposal and draft legislation to establish a producer-funded Packaging Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling Program. Appropriates funds. Effective 6/30/3000. (SD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.