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Oregon and Maine Create Extended Producer Responsibility Laws

Both Oregon and Maine have passed legislation this summer to create new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs, which aim to reduce the level of packaging waste by adding the environmental costs associated with a product throughout its lifecycle to the market price of that product. While other states, including California, have been considering such proposals in recent years, these are the first two that have passed and become laws. The Maine bill, HB 1146a, was signed by Gov. Janet Mills on July 12, while the Oregon bill, SB 582, was signed by Gov. Kate Brown on August 6.  Both measures have extended implementation schedules prior to their effective dates in order to allow for required complex rulemaking processes. 

Wine Institute has been working with business organizations around the country to oppose these overly complex and burdensome proposals. In both Oregon and Maine, the business communities came together to offer reasonable alternatives to the bills, however, those were not accepted by the proponents of the legislation and the more stringent laws were passed.

Both proposals will require producers to join in “Producer Responsibility Organizations” in order to implement programs approved by the government. While the goals of the programs are similar, the details of how they will impact the wine industry are different. Both programs offer exemptions for “small producers” and both exempt containers included in their state bottle deposit laws; Maine is one of two states that includes wine bottles already, while Oregon currently excludes wine bottles. Please see below for details on the two programs, with timelines outlining when/how they will be implemented. Wine Institute wants to make sure members are aware of the impending requirements and will provide more information to members as the programs are developed. 


Oregon’s SB 582: “Modernizing Oregon’s Recycling System” (click for full bill text) 

The bill is a lengthy and complicated measure to “modernize” Oregon’s recycling system, requiring producers to bear an estimated 28% of the cost of the recycling system.  

  • The bill establishes a producer responsibility program for packaging, printing and writing paper and food service-ware, requiring producers of covered products to join producer responsibility organization(s) (PRO) to implement a program plan approved by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  
  • Containers that are included in Oregon’s bottle bill (container deposit law) are NOT covered products. Wine and spirits containers are not currently included in the bottle bill, but SB 582 leaves open that option. The bill includes a specific exemption for “wine and spirit containers for which a refund value is established under Oregon law.”This is intended to give the wine and spirits industry an opportunity to evaluate whether expanding the bottle bill to include wine and spirits containers is more advantageous than having these containers recycled under a PRO plan. [Should the wine industry choose to seek inclusion in the bottle bill, such an expansion would require additional legislation.] 
  • Packaging is broadly defined in the bill to include: 1) materials used for the containment or protection of products, including but not limited to paper, plastic, glass or metal or a mixture thereof; and 2) nondurable materials used in storage, shipping or moving, including but not limited to packing materials, moving boxes, file boxes and folders. Even if some or all wine containers are included in the bottle bill, any shipping material would still be included in a PRO plan. 

If an entity is determined to be a producer per Section 3 of the bill, they are required to register with and be a member of a PRO, paying an annual membership fee as calculated under a schedule established by a PRO per Section 11 of the bill, designed to incentivize producers to continually reduce the environmental and human health impacts of covered products. The PRO, however, is required to establish uniform membership fees for members that had a gross revenue of less than $10 million for the organizations’ most recent fiscal year or sold in or into Oregon less than five metric tons of covered products for use in this state in the most recent calendar year.   

  • A small producer is exempt from the requirement to be a member of a PRO, defined as a producer that:  
    • has a gross revenue of less than $5 million for the organization’s most recent fiscal year;  
    • sold in or into Oregon less than one metric ton of covered products for us in this state in the most recent calendar year; and  
    • is a manufacturer of a beverage included in the bottle bill that sold in or into Oregon less than five metric tons of covered products, including but not limited to secondary and tertiary packaging for beverage containers, for use in Oregon in the most recent calendar year;  
    • operated a single retail sales establishment, has no online sales and is not supplied or operated as part of a franchise or a chain.  

A PRO is also responsible for fees established under Section 31, including  

    • a one-time fee for reviewing a PRO plan, and  
    • an annual fee for the purpose of paying the costs to the DEQ of administering, implement and enforcing the bill, and a waste prevention and reuse fee established under Section 32.  

Any person who violates Sections 1 to 43 of this bill may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 per day for each day of the violation.  

The bill includes extended implementation dates to allow time for rulemaking and potential legislative fixes:  

    • March 31, 2024 – PRO must submit its plan to the DEQ per Section 6;  
    • July 1, 2025 – PRO must implement an approved plan; and 
    • July 1, 2025 – producers are required to be a member of a PRO to sell, offer for sale or distribute in or into the state covered product.  
    • Dates are also provided for the various assessments and reports required of DEQ.


Maine’s HB 1146a: “An Act to Support and Improve Municipal Recycling Programs and Save Taxpayer Money” (click for full bill text)    

This bill establishes a Stewardship Program for Packaging.  The law does the following: 

  • Includes a definition section. In part it defines a “low-volume producer” who distributes more than one ton but less than 15 tons of packaging material in total; makes clear that “packaging material” does not include a discrete type of material — clarifying that a beverage container in the bottle deposit law is not included in the EPR. While this means that traditional glass and plastic bottles are excluded, all non-traditional containers such as boxes, bladders, pouches and the like will be covered by the newly created Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO). 
  • Provides limited producer exemptions. 
  • Allows the DEP to select and enter into a contract with a packaging stewardship organization of its choosing. 
  • Outlines producer compliance, which includes the use of a list of UPCs of products for which a producer has complied with the program’s requirements and a list of producers that are not participating in the program. 
  • Requires producer payments to be deposited into the packaging stewardship fund based on the net amount, whether by weight or volume, of each type of packaging material sold into the state. 
  • Sets up annual reporting by producers and an alternative collection program. 
  • Requires the stewardship organization to make investments in education and infrastructure to support the recycling of packaging material. 
  • Establishes the packaging stewardship fund. 
  • Outlines authorized expenditures from the packaging stewardship fund. 

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) must on or before December 31, 2023 initiate rulemaking to adopt rules necessary for the implementation, administration and enforcement of a stewardship program. It provides that beginning February 15, 2025, and annually thereafter, the DEP must report back to the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee on the progress of the program. There is language to allow a producer, or a group of producers, to establish an alternative collection program. 

This is a snapshot of what is included in this law. What is clear is that the rulemaking will be time consuming and laborious. It does appear that interested parties can provide input, however, these are routine technical rules and not majorly substantive and thus will not need further legislative review.   

Next Steps

Wine Institute’s State Relations staff is already working in coalition with other impacted industry groups in both of Oregon and Maine to determine the practical impacts of these programs on our members. We will be working with the Oregon wine industry and our own membership to determine whether it would be advantageous to seek the inclusion of wine containers in the bottle bill in order to have them excluded from the PRO process. In Maine, a similar conversation will need to be had related to bag-in-the box, pouches and other non-traditional wine packaging that is currently not included in that state’s container deposit law. In each case, a change in the deposit law would require legislative action, and we know there would be opposition from some current participants in those programs to expanding the laws. These discussions will take place over the coming months, and we will utilize our existing Wine Institute committees and the board to formalize any new position that might be taken. 


Contact Steve Gross for general information on this topic. For specific Oregon questions, contact Western Counsel Katie Jacoy; for specific Maine questions contact New England Counsel Carol Martel.