Magazine Publishers Oppose Inclusion of Paper Products in Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) System

Inclusion of Paper in EPR Would Subsidize Polluters, Punish Good Actors

Washington, D.C., February 3, 2021 – MPA – the Association of Magazine Media today expressed strong opposition to New York Senate Bill S. 1185A, the Extended Producer Responsibility Act. By including printed paper products in the proposed EPR program, the bill unfairly targets products that are non-toxic, biodegradable, and recyclable.

“More than 63 percent of paper discarded by consumers is already recycled,” said Brigitte Schmidt Gwyn, CEO of MPA. “Including paper in New York’s EPR system could significantly raise costs of paper products with no corresponding increase in paper recycling or environmental improvement. The net effect would be to subsidize producers of more polluting products, as some of their share of EPR costs would be borne by magazine publishers.”

The magazine industry is an important part of the New York economy, supporting more than 53,000 New York jobs and paying an estimated $2.6 billion in total annual wages in the Empire State. 

The magazine industry is also an important partner in environmental stewardship. Recognized as recyclable by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, magazines are made from environmentally certified, biodegradable paper. The paper is sourced from sustainable forests via certified chain-of-custody protocols; the inks are linseed oil based and non-toxic; the adhesives are water soluble; and any protective packaging is recyclable.

“Magazine publishers champion environmental protection,” said Schmidt Gwyn. “Not only do we adhere to sustainable sourcing and production, magazines also play a vital role in educating readers about the benefits of such practices. Put more simply, the paper we use should not be included in any EPR program because we’re not the problem.”

EPR programs established in Europe have correctly limited coverage to products with significant environmental impact.  In Canada, where a number of EPR programs include paper, the results have been environmentally disappointing and economically damaging.  The fees on paper products in Canada have spiraled out of control, increasing 86% last year and another 46% this year.  At the same time, recycling rates have stalled and are trending downward.

Including magazines and newspapers in S. 1185A also raises First Amendment concerns and the bill should be rejected on constitutional grounds as well.