For too long the manufacturers of plastics have evaded their responsibility for the piles of discarded plastics that plague the world in so many ways. But that era is coming to an end soon.

Back in 2021, Oregon’s legislature passed Senate Bill 582, the Recycling Modernization Act. It created a method to implement Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for the recyclability of packaging materials sold in Oregon. At that time, Oregon was only one of two states to enact a law of this kind, with Maine having been the first. 

The Act directed the DEQ to establish a Recycling System Advisory Council, comprised of representatives from local governments, community-based organizations representing historically underserved groups, small businesses, the recycling industry, processors or material end users, and producers of the products specified in the act. The Council has been hard at work writing the rules that will make this Act a reality. The Council is responsible for the initial development and implementation phase of the Act and will remain in place in perpetuity. 

To fund this new state-wide system, producers of items covered by this new law will pay an annual fee to join a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) no later than July 1, 2025.  The PRO will ensure that these producers:

  1. Sell in our state only material specified in the act that can be recycled responsibly and transparently.
  2. Fund a commodity risk fee to make money available to recycling processing facilities to stabilize the cost of recycling.
  3. Develop resources for residents to properly prepare materials for recycling.

Here are a few answers to common questions about the new law:

What does this mean for the citizens of Oregon?
One key objective of this Act is to provide seamless recycling programs across the entire state of Oregon for most types of packaging and food service ware, with a focus on plastics.  If you can recycle an item in the Portland Metro Area, it will also be recyclable in every other community of Oregon as well, although the method by which a specific item is collected for recycling may differ.  

What is on the new, expanded statewide list of recyclables?
The Uniform Statewide Collection List (USCL) has grown from what materials had been recyclable prior to this law.  The current list as of January 2024 is available online and linked here

Here are a few materials that are new to the list:

  • Paper or plastic plates
  • Styrofoam Clamshells intended for single use, such as take-out containers
  • Tissue paper (packaging, not facial or sanitary)
  • Paperback books (hardback books are excluded)
  • Polyethylene film
  • Blocks of white expanded polystyrene

By July 1, 2025, the items on the USCL will be collected statewide for recycling.

I live in a multi-family community.  How does this law increase my access to recycling?
The implementation of this law in multi-family communities begins with a needs assessment by Oregon DEQ, which is due in September of 2024, followed by a two-year period of planning and technical assistance.  The new requirements for multifamily housing will take effect on July 1, 2026.  In addition the law will require DEQ to complete a new needs assessment every 4 years to ensure effective and equitable opportunities for their tenants or condo owners to recycle moving forward.

Will my garbage and recycling rates increase because of this new law?
The short answer is no.  The intent of the law is for the producers of the packaging, printed paper, and food service ware to pay for improvements to the current recycling infrastructure.  Research performed across Canada between markets with and without EPR rules found no correlation between product pricing and the presence of EPR requirements.

How can I learn more about this law?
The Oregon DEQ website has a page specifically regarding the implementation of the Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act with lots of information including short videos and a monthly newsletter. The link is provided below, along with several others on this topic.


Department of Environmental Quality : Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act : Recycling : State of Oregon

Department of Environmental Quality : Oregon Recycling System Advisory Council : Recycling : State of Oregon

recRMAImpTimeline.pdf (

rscRRSconsumer.pdf (