Natural Resources

CHAPTER 60. Environmental Control

Subchapter VII. Labeling of Plastic Products

§ 6090. Findings; intent.

(a) The General Assembly finds that:

(1) Recycling of waste materials is preferable to incinerating or landfilling those materials because recycling conserves valuable resources, saves energy in the manufacturing process and extends the life of disposal facilities;

(2) Increased recycling is necessary in Delaware to meet the EPA’s national goal of a 25% reduction of the solid waste stream;

(3) Plastics have been shown to be recyclable;

(4) One of the barriers to increased recycling of plastics is the necessity of keeping the various types of plastic separate, based on the resin from which they are made; and

(5) The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., has devised a coding system that can be used to label plastic containers so as to identify the type of resin from which they are made.

(b) It is the intent of the General Assembly to facilitate the recycling of plastic containers by requiring that these containers be labeled according to resin type.

68 Del. Laws, c. 174, §  1

§ 6091. Definitions.

As used in this subchapter, unless otherwise indicated:

(1) “Container” means a “rigid plastic container” or a “plastic bottle” as those terms are defined in this section.

(2) “Department” means the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

(3) “Label” means a molded, imprinted or raised symbol on or near the bottom of a rigid plastic container or plastic bottle.

(4) “Person” means any individual, trust, firm, joint stock company, federal agency, partnership, corporation (including a government corporation), association, state, municipality, commission, political subdivision of a state or any interstate body.

(5) “Plastic” means any material made of polymeric organic compounds and additives that can be shaped by flow.

(6) “Plastic bottle” means a plastic container intended for single use that has a neck that is smaller than the body of the container; accepts a screw-type cap, snap cap or other closure; and has a capacity of 16 fluid ounces or more, but less than 5 gallons.

(7) “Rigid plastic container” means any formed or molded container, other than a bottle, intended for single use, composed predominantly of plastic resin and having a relatively inflexible finite shape or form with a capacity of 8 ounces or more but less than 5 gallons.

(8) “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

68 Del. Laws, c. 174, §  1

§ 6092. Labeling.

(a) On or after July 1, 1992, no person shall distribute, sell or offer for sale in this State any plastic bottle or rigid plastic container unless such container is labeled with a code identifying the appropriate resin type used to produce the structure of the container. The code shall consist of a number placed within 3 triangulated arrows and a letter placed below the triangle of arrows. The triangulated arrows shall be equilateral, formed by 3 arrows with the apex of each point of the triangle at the midpoint of each arrow, rounded with a short radius. The pointer (arrowhead) of each arrow shall be at the midpoint of each side of the triangle with a short gap separating the pointer from the base of the adjacent arrow. The triangle, formed by the 3 arrows curved at their midpoints, shall depict a clockwise path around the code number. The numbers and letters used shall be as follows:

1 = PETE (polyethylene threphthalate)

2 = HDPE (high density polyethylene)

3 = V (vinyl)

4 = LDPE (low density polyethylene)

5 = PP (polypropylene)

6 = PS (polystyrene)

7 = Other

(b) The Department shall maintain a list of the label codes provided in subsection (a) of this section and shall provide a copy of the list to any person upon request.

(c) The provisions of this section and any rules or regulations adopted hereunder shall be interpreted to conform with nationwide plastics industry standards.

68 Del. Laws, c. 174, §  1

§ 6093. Penalty; enforcement.

(a) Any person who violates this subchapter or any rule or regulation duly promulgated thereunder or any order of the Secretary issued pursuant to this subchapter shall be punishable as follows:

(1) If a violation has been completed, by a civil penalty imposed by the Justice of the Peace Court of not less than $250 nor more than $1,000 for each completed violation. The Secretary may also seek a permanent or preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order in the Court of Chancery.

(2) If a violation is continuing, the Secretary may seek a monetary penalty as provided in paragraph (a)(1) of this section. If a violation is continuing or is threatened, the Secretary may also seek a temporary restraining order or permanent injunction in the Court of Chancery.

(b) The Secretary shall have the authority to enforce this subchapter.

68 Del. Laws, c. 174, §  1