Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse
The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) maintains the Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation and coordinates implementation of state legislation, based on the Model, on behalf of its member states, with the goal of promoting consistency across states. TPCH is a resource and single point of contact for companies seeking information on toxics in packaging requirements or an exemption.
The Source Reduction Council of the Coalition of Northeast Governors (CONEG) developed the Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation in 1989 to reduce the amount of heavy metals in packaging and packaging components that are sold or distributed throughout the United States. The intent was to curb the amount of heavy metals – specifically, lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium ─ entering the municipal solid waste stream and, ultimately, landfills, incinerators, and recycling streams from packaging, since packaging comprises approximately one-third of the waste stream. TPCH was formed in 1992 to promote the Model Legislation and consistency in its implementation across states that adopted the Model Legislation.
To date, the Model has been adopted by 19 states, including: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. In February 2021, the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) announced the organization’s 2021 update to their Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation.
The previous version of the Model (as revised in 2012) can be found here. The 2021 update includes the addition of the class of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and ortho-phthalates as regulated chemicals, as well as new processes and criteria for identifying and regulating additional chemicals of high concern in packaging. The previous (prior to 2021) TPCH Model Legislation and laws enacted in 19 states prohibit the intentional use of cadmium, lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium in any finished package or packaging component. The laws also limit the total incidental concentration of the four metals to 100 ppm. Incidental concentration may result from the use of post-consumer recycled content to manufacture new packaging and components. The laws take a pollution prevention approach by prohibiting intentional use, and they place the primary burden of compliance on the supply chain by requiring manufacturers and suppliers to verify that their products are in compliance.
The 2021 update of the model legislation developed by TPCH is a tool any state may use to regulate contaminants in packaging. A state would need to adopt all or part of the updated model for it to be an enforceable law in their state. No state has amended its current toxics in packaging law to add the updated model legislation language in its entirety. Some states have adopted certain provisions of the 2021 model legislation. Detailed information about recent related legislative activity in U.S. states can be found on the TPCH Website.
It will be up to each state to adopt changes to their existing laws or adopt a new law to address toxics in packaging.
TPCH includes a states-only voting membership and an industry/public interest advisory group. Current state members include California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington. The Glass Packaging Institute is a current and longtime industry member.
TPCH is located at NEWMOA. NEWMOA manages and performs all administrative functions for the Clearinghouse on behalf of industry members and member states.