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Reduce, Reuse ... Relabel? State Legislation Considers Custom Labels For Non-Recyclable Products

Legislation on Custom Labels Proposed in Alabama, North Carolina

Custom labels that denote a product's green impact are all the rage, but what about those that indicate just the opposite? That's what's on the mind of lawmakers in Alabama and North Carolina, where similar bills have been submitted to the states' legislatures that would require non-recyclable products be labeled as such.

The bills were introduced as both states' growing recycling industries have expressed worry that biodegradable and compostable plastic products designed to decompose in landfills are not suitable for standard recycling processes and could cause problems.

Biodegradable Products Must Also Carry 'Non-Recyclable' Water Bottle Labels
The bills - SB 298 in Alabama and HB 315 in North Carolina - both contain nearly identical language that would mandate plastic products, including beverage containers, that are biodegradable or compostable must also include water bottle labels that read "Not Recyclable, Do Not Recycle."

If passed, the legislation would be effective July 1, 2014 and would be applied to all plastic products.

"We came to the conclusion that we had this very important part of our economy (recycling) that we needed to protect, that we needed to grow, and we didn't want anything to slow that growth down," Scott Mouw, state recycling program director in North Carolina, told Plastics News regarding the motivation for the legislation.