The Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) and the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) announced an agreement on eight legislative elements of an extended producer responsibility (EPR) bill for packaging and paper products (PPP), including the types of packaging, entities from which packaging is collected and the definition of producers, who are legally responsible.
“Municipalities face skyrocketing recycling costs to manage an ever more complex packaging waste stream over which they have no control,” says Scott Cassel, PSI’s CEO and founder. “With this agreement, FPA member companies and PSI member governments, companies and organizations have started down a path together to provide desperately needed fiscal relief for municipalities while fixing and expanding our national reuse and recycling system.”
According to FPA, its dialogue with PSI marks the first time in the U.S. that producers of flexible packaging, state and local government agencies, environmental groups, and recyclers have collaborated to develop a legislative framework for packaging EPR. Funding for collection, transportation, processing of packaging for reuse and recycling, public education, and government oversight were decided, with funding going toward recycling flexible packaging, litter abatement and prevention programs. Also outlined were performance targets, recycling goals and financial incentives to make recyclable and sustainable packaging.
“Flexible packaging has many attributes that make it environmentally preferable, but it has limited opportunities for collection and recycling at its end-of-life. FPA needed a platform to educate policy-makers and ensure that any extended producer responsibility legislation in the U.S. for packaging provided an on-ramp for the circularity of flexible packaging,” says Alison Keane, esq., IOM, CAE, and president and CEO of the FPA.
PSI says it helped participants, including FPA member companies, state and local government agencies developing EPR for PPP bills, environmental groups and recyclers, to reach an agreement on the benefits of flexible packages, a sustainable system for managing flexible packaging and a problem statement. The dialogue identified priorities in managing flexible packaging waste and challenges and opportunities, from manufacturing and design to post-consumer collection, reuse, and recycling. PSI will continue to facilitate these FPA state-by-state conversations, using these elements as a reference and discussion tool.
“Dialoguing with the Product Stewardship Institute, which represents the state and local governments, among others, contemplating this legislation, is a process that brings those policy-makers together through one organization. Other packaging supply chain organizations should be doing the same so that industry can shape legislation that provides for needed recycling infrastructure for all packaging types in the U.S,” says Keane.