Report offers alternatives to extended producer responsibility

Published: September 14, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Packaging, Sustainability

PITTSBURGH (Sept. 14, 1:25 p.m. ET) — A cost analysis done for the Grocery Manufacturers Association argues that alternatives to extended producer responsibility policies can achieve high municipal solid waste recycling rates at reasonable costs and address a wider spectrum of the waste stream.

The report, released at the Sustainable Forum in Pittsburgh on Sept. 12, also claims that mandatory EPR programs aimed at food, beverage and consumer product packaging would not deliver on their promise of creating more cost-effective residential recycling programs and driving packaging redesign.

The report analyzed recycling rates, system costs, packaging changes, and other data from various European and Canadian jurisdictions that employ EPR for packaging. In the U.S., it looked at nationwide recycling rates and recycling programs in Ramsey County, Minn.

Among the study’s principal findings:

• Packaging use has declined in the United States, where there is no packaging EPR, but it has increased slowly in Europe, where there is widespread packaging EPR.

“There is no indication that EPR has reduced packaging use economy-wide or had any effect on package design or selection,” said the 68-page report, prepared for GMA by SAIC Energy, Environment & Infrastructure, LLC.

• Price signals sent by EPR to manufacturers are very weak in most jurisdictions compared to the overall value of the products they contain and price of packaging.

“Packaging EPR generally does not change the relative package cost among different package alternatives for a product,” said the report. “There is insufficient EPR fee differentiation to cause consumer packaged goods companies to switch from one package format to another.

The study also said that the U.S. has a higher recycling rate for municipal solid waste than both the European Union, 23 percent, and Canada, 18 percent, where EPR is widely employed.

It also noted that Ramsey County, a non-EPR jurisdiction in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, has a lower net cost per ton ($156) than EPR programs in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, where costs are $166/ton and $202/ton, respectively. However, the report did not look at costs in any other specific municipalities in the U.S.

The report further argued that “states and municipalities already have at their disposal a suite of non-EPR policies that are both effective and efficient in terms of raising recycling rates.”

Specifically, the report cited more than a dozen approaches including disposal limits, recycling rewards or rebates for consumers, penalties, pay-as-you-throw disposal pricing, disposal bans, mandatory recycling of certain materials, diversion goals, landfill surcharges or taxes, advanced recycling/disposal fees, mandatory retail take-back programs, and building design standards.

“Together, [these initiatives] can achieve high recycling rates, without excess cost or administrative burden that results from EPR,” the report said.

“The most successful recycling and waste recovery programs will result from comprehensive approaches that leverage industry innovation and collaborative partnerships between NGO’s, government and industry, not one-size-fits-all mandates,” asserted Meghan Stasz, senior director of sustainability at GMA.


Comments

Report offers alternatives to extended producer responsibility

Published: September 14, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

RPC Group buying Iceland's Promens

November 27, 2014 8:46 am ET

In a major acquisition that combines two rigid packaging companies with international footprints, RPC Group plc has signed a 399 million euro ($497...    More

Image

Proposed green building standard delayed until late 2016

November 27, 2014 6:00 am ET

Anyone not ready for a new green building standard — one that may include more favorable ratings for plastics — is getting something of a ...    More

Image

Group backs plastic window alternatives

November 27, 2014 6:00 am ET

A new industry working group is figuring out how to help plastic break through the glass ceiling.    More

RheTech to commercialize hemp fibers to replace glass in PP

November 27, 2014 6:00 am ET

RheTech Inc. plan to commercialize its first hemp fiber compounds in January.    More

Image

SPI hopes to build on EPS recycling

November 26, 2014 6:00 am ET

Successfully recycling expanded polystyrene can be a challenge, there's no doubt about that. EPS, however, has value, is in demand and deserves to be ...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events