Navigating Legislative Challenges in Post Consumer Resin Usage: A Roadmap for Manufacturers

In recent years, there has been a growing focus on sustainability across industries, particularly in manufacturing. One key area of interest is the utilization of Post Consumer Resin, a recycled material derived from consumer plastic waste. PCR offers a promising solution to reduce the environmental impact of plastic production by giving a second life to materials that would otherwise end up in landfills or polluting our oceans.

What is Post Consumer Resin?

Post Consumer Resin (PCR) is recycled plastic derived from consumer waste, such as plastic bottles, containers, and packaging. Through collection, sorting, cleaning, and reprocessing, PCR is transformed into a raw material that can be used to manufacture new plastic products. By incorporating PCR into their production processes, manufacturers can reduce their reliance on virgin plastic, conserve natural resources, and decrease waste sent to landfills.

Legislative Challenges on the Horizon

While adopting PCR presents numerous environmental benefits, manufacturers face legislative challenges that impact the incorporation of PCR into their products. According to the Association of Plastic Recyclers, “four states have passed laws requiring post-consumer recycled content in plastic packaging; several more states have proposed laws to date this year, and there are broad-scale proposals actively under development in Canada and the European Union. In addition, there is renewed state-level attention on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging policies to increase recycling rates.” These challenges stem from evolving regulations and standards to address plastic pollution and promote sustainability.

Below is a table of recent laws passed requiring the use of PCR:

State Products Covered Dates & PCR Rates
California Beverage Bottles (Glass & Plastic) 1/2022 – 15%
AB 793 1/2025 – 25%
1/2030 – 50%
California Reusable Plastic Bags 1/2016 – 20%
SB 270 (2.25 ml min thickness) 1/2020 – 40%
Washington Plastic Beverage Bottles 1/2023 – 15%
SB 5022 1/2026 – 25%
1/2030 – 50%
Washington Plastic Wine Containers & Diary Milk Containers 1/2028 – 15%
1/2031 – 25%
1/2036 – 50%
Washington Plastic Household Cleaning & Personal Care Products 1/2025 – 15%
1/2028 – 25%
1/2031 – 50%
Washington Plastic Trash Bags 1/2023 – 10%
1/2025 – 15%
1/2027 – 20%
New Jersey Plastic Beverage Containers 1/2024 – 15% with 5% increases every 3 years up to 50%
S2515 All Other Rigid Containers 1/2024 – 10% with 10% increases every 3 years up to 50%
Maine Plastic Beverage Containers 1/2026 – 25%
LD1467 1/2031 – 30%

Here are some critical legislative considerations that manufacturers should be aware of:

Regulatory Compliance: As governments worldwide enact stricter regulations to reduce plastic waste, manufacturers must ensure that their use of PCR complies with these regulations. This may include meeting minimum PCR content requirements, adhering to labeling and certification standards, and demonstrating compliance with recycling and waste management laws.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): Many jurisdictions are implementing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes, which hold manufacturers financially responsible for the end-of-life management of their products, including recycling and disposal. Manufacturers using PCR may face additional obligations and costs associated with EPR programs, such as contributing to recycling infrastructure or funding recycling initiatives.

Quality and Performance Standards: Maintaining the quality and performance of products made with PCR is crucial for consumer acceptance and market viability. Manufacturers must navigate standards and specifications for PCR content, ensuring that their products meet the necessary performance criteria while incorporating recycled materials effectively.

Supply Chain Transparency: Transparency and traceability within the supply chain are becoming increasingly important as consumers demand greater visibility into the environmental and social impacts of the products they purchase. Manufacturers using PCR must be able to trace the origin and composition of their recycled materials and demonstrate responsible sourcing practices and ethical labor standards.

Navigating the Road Ahead

In the face of these legislative challenges, manufacturers can take proactive steps to navigate the road ahead and leverage the opportunities presented by PCR:

Stay Informed: Stay abreast of developments in legislation and regulatory requirements related to PCR usage. Engage with industry associations, government agencies, and other stakeholders to stay informed about changes that may impact your business.

Invest in Innovation: Invest in research and development to improve the quality, performance, and cost-effectiveness of products made with PCR. Explore innovative technologies and processes for recycling and reprocessing PCR to enhance its viability as a raw material.

Collaborate Across the Value Chain: Collaboration is key to addressing the challenges of PCR usage effectively. Work closely with suppliers, recyclers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to develop solutions that promote the sustainable use of PCR and address regulatory requirements.

How Graham Engineering can help

The most important question you have to answer is how will your organization reach 50% PCR in rigid packaging by 2028? Here’s how we can help.

– With numerous years of industry and screw design experience, GEC can engineer screws and barrels that can process high amounts of PCR, whether in flake or pellet form.
– Our in-depth understanding of downstream equipment, including screen changers and melt pumps, ensures the highest possible bottle quality.
– Our advanced blow molding equipment allows us to control layer structures on a high-volume, single parison system, which has natural advantages when running PCR.
– We can use 2 (ABA) or 3 (ABC) extruders to produce a tri-layer bottle, encasing the PCR as the middle layer.


While legislative challenges may pose obstacles to the widespread adoption of PCR, manufacturers can lead the way in sustainable innovation. By proactively addressing regulatory requirements, investing in technology and collaboration, and engaging with consumers, manufacturers can navigate the road ahead and harness the potential of Post Consumer Resin to create a more sustainable future.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you navigate this process.

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