NC Plastic Policy

NC Plastic Policy Tool Kit  2022.04.28_ELPC Policy Packet_NL (1) (1)

House Bill 28 (HB28) – February 2023 Update:

Single-use plastics serve our needs for a few minutes and then become waste. Many corporations have taken steps to reduce plastic waste, but we have seen slow action from the State of North Carolina in these efforts. 

As introduced, House Bill 28 (HB28), NC Managing Environmental Waste Act of 2023, took several steps to tackle the plastic waste problem. Section 1, of the bill, directs a small part (5%) of the existing solid waste disposal tax to cities and counties to provide plastics recycling and food service ware waste reduction. Section 2 directs state agencies, local governments, and school districts to report annually to DEQ on recycling levels and progress towards existing state procurement goals for recycled content. Section 3 provides for a legislative study of plastic food service ware. Section 4 directs Legislative Services and NC DHHS Division of Services for the Blind to attempt to reduce plastic food service ware in their facilities. Section 5 defines ‘food service ware’ for purposes of sections 3 and 4.

H28 pursues an important goal, reducing plastic waste, but an amendment added in the House Environment committee has damaged the bill. 

The ‘advanced recycling’ amendment, in sections 1 and 5 of the bill, reads: “As used in this section, the term ‘non-recyclable’ does not include post-use polymers or recovered feedstock processed at an advanced recycling facility.” In other words, single-use plastic food service ware made from these materials wouldn’t be considered covered by waste-reduction goals. There are three problems with this:

The amendment weakens the waste reduction impact of H28. The purpose of H28 is to reduce food service waste; the amendment weakens that by exempting a large fraction of the plastic food service waste stream.

The amendment enables plastic management that hurts public health and the environment. Plastics disposal that uses high temperatures to break down the plastics – what the chemical industry likes to call ‘advanced recycling’ – produces toxic emissions even when it is fully regulated. Toxic products include benzene, lead, cadmium, and chromium. Facilities that process PFAS-coated plastics are likely to release PFAS. There is as much reason to reduce plastic waste going to or made from high-temperature ‘recycling’ as there is to reduce plastic waste going to landfills. There is no reason to exempt it from waste reduction goals.

The amendment uses a dubious term that is undefined in North Carolina law. The term ‘advanced recycling’ does not currently exist in North Carolina’s statutes or rules. In other states and at the federal level, the chemical industry has attempted to define the term in a way that exempts this waste stream from key environmental standards that protect air, water, and public health. The amendment to H28 doesn’t do that, but it does introduce this term, new and undefined, that has been a source of mischief elsewhere.


Thank you for joining CCRW, and plastic pollution prevention stakeholders, for the

NC Plastic Policy Workshop, presented by

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, Duke University Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, and NC Marine Debris Symposium.

This event was held on April 29, 2022.

Attendees heard from plastic policy experts in North Carolina and learn how local government planners, solid waste representatives, and local elected officials can help create change.  Attendees also, worked with colleagues to develop take-away resolutions to be used in your communities.  Let us know how your community is benefiting from plastic pollution policies or if you would like to hear more about plastic pollution policies by emailing

Link to Workshop Agenda


NC Plastic Policy Tool Kit  2022.04.28_ELPC Policy Packet_NL (1) (1)