June ’23 at-a-glance … environment

Waste management organization drafting model legislation to inform PFAS reduction efforts

Due to their involvement handling per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)-containing materials that continue to enter the waste stream, the Northeast Waste Management Officials Association (NEWMOA) is developing draft model legislation states could use to reduce and eliminate the use of PFAS in products. While some bills already have been introduced to protect passive receivers such as composters and solid waste facilities that receive these “forever chemicals,” NEWMOA is taking a more proactive approach. “Our goal is to develop thoughtful model legislation that jurisdiction can use, whatever their legislative process,” said Executive Director Martin Suuberg.

The draft model legislation provides options for consideration including a ban on products and packaging with intentionally added PFAS. It also includes a provision allowing manufacturers to apply for an exemption if the product has an unavoidable use. In this case, the manufacturer(s) would be required to create an extended producer responsibility organization to recover the items.

Maine currently has the most stringent PFAS regulations in the U.S. After Jan. 1, 2030, a retailer may not sell any products containing intentionally added PFAS. State environmental agency officials in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont provided input to the model legislation. The following states already address PFAS in drinking water and are in the process of or expected to expand legislation: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.

NAFEM comments on proposed New Jersey PFAS regulations

NAFEM and other members of the recently formed PFAS Ban Coalition communicated their opposition to NJ S3177, which would establish reporting requirements for manufacturers of products with intentionally added PFAS and restrictions on certain products with intentionally added PFAS. The bill also would give New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) authority to recommend products or categories of products with intentionally added PFAS that should not be sold or distributed in the state. “This legislation, could eventually ban thousands of products from sale and transport of those products into the state, causing far-reaching negative consequences on nearly every sector of the economy,” the Coalition said.