Impact of New Jersey Recycled Content Law - CMG Plastics


Are you subject to New Jersey’s Recycled Content Law which took effect on January 18, 2024? How do these new regulations affect brand owners and manufacturers? And what is this legislation’s impact on rigid plastic packaging?

Here at CMG Plastics, the impending effects have been on our radar for some time. Recently, we looked at the particulars of this newly enacted law and here are just a few of its more salient points that caught our attention.

Originally signed by Governor Phil Murphy twenty-four months ago, P.L. 2021, c. 391 (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.135-157) requires manufacturers to meet minimum recycled content requirements for regulated containers and packaging products sold or offered for sale in New Jersey starting in 2024. The affected packaging formats include certain rigid plastic containers, glass containers, paper and plastic carryout bags, and plastic trash bags.

Here’s where it gets a bit complicated.

If you’re wondering what, according to the law, a “manufacturer” is, the recently enacted law defines it a number of ways, including “the brand owner of a product that is sold or offered for sale in the State and that is packaged in a rigid plastic container, plastic beverage container, or glass container.”

In cases where a parent company owns several subsidiaries that sell or offer for sale any regulated container or packaging product, the parent company may register on behalf of its subsidiaries if all regulated containers and packaging products are identified and accounted for in registration and compliance certification reports.

Now for some good news. New Jersey’s Recycled Content Law exempts some rigid plastic containers from the post-consumer recycled content requirements if they contain drugs, dietary supplements, medical devices, or cosmetics as defined in Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. s.301 et seq.

More good news: any regulated container or packaging product receives a permanent exemption if it contains milk products as defined by the US FDA in the 2019 revision of the Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance found here. This exemption also applies to plant-based products with names that include the names of dairy foods such as “milk,” as well as a number of other exceptions including infant formula. Additionally, non-dairy food packaging is exempt from these requirements through 2027.

You can review a current copy of the New Jersey Recycled Content Law in its entirety here.

It is important to be aware that the regulations may be subject to change at the discretion of the Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). So, a review of the regulations and guidelines on a regular basis is highly recommended and rest assured, we will be keeping an eye on things and adding postings with updates as subsequent information impacts brand owners that market their products in the Garden State.

At CMG Plastics, we are constantly sourcing packaging materials and offering manufacturing advancements that help our clients meet and exceed their goals and overcome challenges. We are currently working with several brands to help them meet their recycled content goals so let’s talk about all the ways we can help you achieve your sustainability goals.