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Print & Graphic Communications Association (PGCA) prevails on New York State Ban on Black Printing Ink Containing Carbon Black

We are pleased to report that the New York State Legislature has adjourned without passing the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation containing the proposed ban on carbon black, the primary pigment in black printing ink. Thanks to all who were involved in this monumental effort! We had many companies, members, and non-members alike, write letters, take meetings, and make personal calls to their NYS legislative representatives, expressing their concerns about this critical issue!

In achieving this victory, PGCA worked with an extensive coalition of organizations who are broadly opposed to the overarching EPR bill.  However, the Print & Graphic Communications Association was one of only a few associations, along with the Color Pigment Manufacturers Association (CPMA) and the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM), and others, whose primary focus was on fighting against the proposed Carbon Black ban.

Without our focus on this critical issue, it is doubtful if the proposed ban, which would have essentially destroyed the packaging and label business in New York State, would have been removed from the overall bill!

To recap, several months ago, we advised the New York State industry, members and non-members alike, that the EPR bill, titled the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (PRRIA), contained a section that would ban the use of several chemicals that were being designated as “toxic” including carbon black.

Recognizing the existential challenge to our industry that a ban on black printing ink would be, PGCA jumped into action and took the following actions over the next several weeks.

  • Prepared and sent an immediate message, protesting the proposed carbon black ban, to all New York State legislators and Governor Kathy Hochul through the PGCA Legislative Action Center.
  • Prepared and sent an Action Alert to our industry contacts, member and non-member, advising them of the issue and asking them to communicate their concerns to their legislators, again through the PGCA Legislative Action Center. This alert, along with several follow-ups, generated over 500 individual participant grassroots communications to legislators.
  • Hired an experienced, effective, and knowledgeable Albany lobbyist, Thomas Faist, Esq., from Faist Government Affairs Group to represent our industry’s interests.
  • Through Mr. Faist’s efforts we met with a number of individual legislators and/or staff including the following New York State legislative leaders:  Bonnie Lockwood, Regional Director of Western New York for NYS Governor Kathy Hochul, Crystal Peoples-Stokes, NYS Assembly Majority Leader, Charles LeDuc, Legislative Director for NYS Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (Assembly sponsor of the PRRIA), Marie Kelly, Legislative Director for NYS Senator Pete Harckham (Senate sponsor of the PRRIA)
  • Commissioned an article on the topic, written by Patrick Henry, that was used to educate legislators and industry representatives.
  • Conducted an extensive social media campaign on the issue directed at the industry, graphic designers, and brand owners.
  • Authored a joint letter opposing the legislation with one of the state’s largest printing unions, the Printing Packaging & Production Workers Union of North America. Distributed letter to Senate and Assembly Labor committees as well as entire Legislature.
  • Encouraged members to invite legislators to their facilities and supplied industry collateral material on the issue for their use.
  • Submitted a Memorandum-in-Opposition to every member of the New York State legislature.

While the NYS legislature has adjourned without approving the bill, you can be certain the issue is not done. The EPR bill, without the Carbon Black ban, has passed the NYS Senate. The NYS Assembly adjourned without voting on the companion bill. The EPR bill, which will drive significant business out of New York State, will resurface before the end of 2024. While we don’t believe a Carbon Black ban will be added back in, the environmental lobby may press for its inclusion into an amended bill and the fight will be on again. Stay tuned!

We are pleased to have taken a leadership role in this successful effort and are working diligently to address a similar situation in New Jersey as well as monitoring the situations in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Please do not hesitate to contact Tim Freeman at Print & Graphic Communications Association office with your questions or concerns and once again, thank you for your efforts on this important issue!

Tim Freeman, Co-President
Print & Graphic Communications Association
(716) 691-3211

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