Oregon Considers ‘Truth In Labeling’ Law For Recycling

Dec 7, 2020

Oregonians would have an easier time figuring out what’s recyclable under a proposal headed to state lawmakers.

Many items sold in Oregon have a label that implies they are recyclable, even though most waste haulers don't accept them as recyclable materials.
Credit Chris Lehman / KLCC

A few years ago, the international market for recyclables tanked. That threw a wrench into Oregon’s curbside recycling programs. Many items that were previously okay to toss in the blue bin are no longer considered recyclable. But waste haulers say Oregonians haven’t gotten the message, and the process of separating out non-recyclable items is inefficient and costly.

To compound matters, current Oregon law requires plastic containers to have a recycling logo on them, even if the item is no longer recyclable.

“The proposal will eliminate that confusing requirement, and replace it with new truth-in-labeling standards, intended to prevent misleading claims of recyclability,” said David Allaway, a senior policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality during a Monday meeting of the Oregon Senate's Interim Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources.

The bill would require companies that sell packaging and paper products to share in the cost of the recycling system. It would also create a standardized list of recylable items so help streamline recycling programs across the state.

The proposal will go before Oregon lawmakers during the 2021 legislative session.