Policy Update

Maryland Pursues Truth in Labeling Bill

February 17, 2022

Region

MidAtlantic

NCEL Point of Contact

Mara Herman
Environmental Health Manager

Contact

In January, Maryland introduced HB 0700 to address deceptive claims regarding product recyclability. If passed, the bill will prohibit a container from displaying a recycling sign if the container or packaging is not considered recyclable in at least 60% of the state’s recycling programs.

The bill, also called a chasing arrow or truth in labeling bill, aims to address decades of misleading claims about plastic and recycling. While many products display a recycling sign, many, such as plastic bags, clear beverage containers, and even yogurt cups, can only be recycled at select facilities around the country. Thus, most of these products end up in incinerators or landfills. 

HB 0700 also

  • Holds manufacturers responsible for ensuring that their environmental marketing claims are substantiated by reliable evidence.
  • Ensure consumers receive accurate and useful information on how to properly dispose of products and packaging. 
  • Requires at least 75% of the product or packaging being aggregated and sorted in the state is recycled into new products or packaging.

Other State Action

In October 2021, California passed the first “chasing arrows” bill to address recyclable labeling. S.B. 343 includes a ban on the use of the chasing arrows recycling symbol unless the product or packaging meets statewide recyclability criteria. This bill set a precedent for other states to reduce consumer confusion and misleading recycling labeling practices.

Several other states have introduced legislation that addresses environmental marketing claims as well as collecting data and issuing a material characterization study on recyclable materials collected in the state. You can view all 2022 plastic pollution bills at ncelenviro.org/plastic-pollution

Maryland Bill Sponsors

This bill was sponsored by NCEL state lead Delegate Sara Love, Delegate Kumar Barve, Delegate Jessica Feldmark, Delegate Linda Foley, Delegate Mary Lehman, Delegate Julie Palakovich, Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Delegate Sheila Ruth, Delegate Jared Solomon, Delegate Dana Stein, Delegate Vaughn Stewart, and Delegate Jennifer Terrasa.