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Massachusetts Recyclable Packaging Initiative, Question 3 (1992)

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The Massachusetts Recyclable Packaging Initiative, also known as Question 3, was on the November 3, 1992 ballot in Massachusetts as an initiated state statute. It was defeated.

The initiative sought to require all packaging used in the state to be recycled or recyclable, with limited exceptions.

Election results

Question 3 (Recyclable Packaging)
Defeatedd No1,556,29855.1%
Yes 1,071,219 38.0%

Official results via: The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth

Text of measure

The language on the ballot was:

This proposed law would require all packaging used in Massachusetts on or after July 1, 1996 to be reduced in size, reusable, or made of materials that have been or could be recycled. The proposed law would provide for exemptions for health, safety and other reasons and would establish penalties for violations.

Packaging would have to be either reduced in size by at least 25% every five years, or designed to be reusable at least five times, with at least 50% of such packaging actually being reused; or recycled at a 50% rate; or composed of 25% or more of recycled materials (increasing to 35% on July 1, 1999 and 50% on July 1, 2002); or composed of materials being recycled at an annual rate of 25% (increasing to 35% in 1999 and 50% in 2002). The requirements would apply to any packaging or containers used to protect, store, handle, transport, display or sell products.

These requirements would not be applicable to tamper-resistant or tamper-evident seals; packaging for medication or medical devices; packaging merely being shipped through the state; packaging required by federal or state health or safety laws or regulations; or flexible film packaging necessary to prevent food from spoiling.

The state Department of Environmental Protection should also grant exemptions for packaging that represents an innovative approach for which additional time is needed to meet the requirements of the law; or packaging made of material that cannot be reused or recycled, and cannot be made of recycled material, but is being composted at a significant rate; or products for which there is no complying packaging and for which compliance with the law would impose undue hardship (other than increased cost) on Massachusetts residents. A person applying for an exemption would pay a fee to be used, subject to legislative appropriation, to pay the cost of administering the proposed law.

The Department would be required to issue regulations to carry out the proposed law and would be required to investigate suspected violations. After issuing a warning, the Department could assess administrative penalties of up to $100 for each offense and up to $10,000 for any single shipment or single continuing act of non-compliance. The Attorney General could also file court actions for civil penalties of up to $500 for each offense and up to $25,000 for any single shipment or continuing act of non-compliance, and could seek a court order requiring compliance. Each non-complying piece of packaging would be considered a separate offense or act of non-compliance.

The proposed law states that if any of its provisions were declared invalid, the other provisions would remain in effect.[1][2]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Public Document No. 43 Massachusetts Election Statistics 1992
  2. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.