FPA is partnering with CSMM comprised of industry associations and waste management companies that are committed to increasing the recycling and recovery of packaging and printed paper. The coalition’s focus is to advocate for an increase in recycling and recovery of materials via alternatives to the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).  The coalition aims to achieve its goal through proactive engagement and educational programs for policymakers, regulators, recyclers and local officials.

There is no clear evidence that EPR is effective in increasing recycling rates. According to a study, conducted by the consulting firm Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for the Grocery Management Association (GMA), EPR does not necessarily improve overall recycling rates and does not prompt changes in packaging design and selection.

The report concludes that state governments and municipalities have, at their disposal, a range of non-EPR options that are effective in increasing the recycling rates without excess cost or administrative burden. To access the full report, please visit the FPA website, www.flexpack.org, in the Sustainability tab and then go to the End-of-Packaging-Life section.

Since waste management is a state/local responsibility there are no federal level EPR laws in the United States. Although none of the existing 63 EPR laws/programs currently apply to packaging and printed paper the coalition is alert to the fact there is a movement in certain states to do so. Consequently, it has identified states with Red (High Potential for EPR in 2014), Orange (Potential 2014 or 2015 EPR Legislation), Yellow (Longer term EPR threat, but outside 2014 or 2015) and Green (Opportunity States for early intervention) Level threats to concentrate its outreach efforts. In many states there are already CSMM members situated to advance the coalition goals. Additionally, the coalition has retained a consulting company to help it in the research and communication efforts related to packaging and printed paper recycling, recovery, and EPR. The coalition is intending to develop white papers, talking points and presentations that can be used in discussions with state and local governments, legislators, recycling advocates, and NGOs.