Like any pressing, global challenge, improving the recyclability of everyday consumer products involves a symbiotic relationship between the public and private sectors. The laws and policies that set recycling requirements naturally drive industries forward, influencing how technology companies like Digimarc create solutions that enable brands to meet evolving obligations.
The U.S. is taking the first step toward joining many other nations that have adopted extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws, as Maine Governor Janet Mills signed LD 1541 into law, making Maine the first state to pass an extended EPR law. The law requires companies that produce consumer packaging to cover funding gaps in the recycling system, ensuring the system is solvent and adaptable to packaging innovation, as well as incentivizing companies to produce packaging that is easy to recycle and reuse.
A bill in Oregon is also awaiting the governor’s signature, which passed this session, and it is expected other states will quickly follow Maine’s lead. There may also be action at the federal level when congress reconvenes this fall. As laws and policies evolve to meet the needs for recycling, Digimarc is focused on developing technologies in tandem with consumer brands to cost effectively meet new requirements.
The news out of Maine and its larger implications for the future reinforces our involvement in the HolyGrail 2.0 project focused on pioneering the use of digital watermarks for a circular economy. Digital watermarks cover the surface of consumer goods packaging and carry attributes that will aid in waste reduction, increase traceability and improve recyclability.
The new generation of EPR laws in the U.S. will be transformative for the recycling system, and a big step forward toward achieving a circular economy. Learn more about our efforts in recycling here.