WASHINGTON — In another sign that environmental issues involving plastic packaging are not on the political front burner, the 10-year-old Council on Packaging in the Environment and the quasi-governmental Council of Northeastern Governors' source reduction office will close their doors by the end of the year. ``Ten years ago, there were thoughts that a German Green Dot [manufacturers responsibility legislation] program might be considered here,'' said E. Gifford Stack, vice president for environmental affairs of the National Soft Drink Association.
``Unlike a decade ago, politicians and the average citizen now know a lot more about packaging and the environment. But just because we are closing COPE doesn't mean we're folding our wallets and going home. If we took the attitude that the pressure's off, [those with an opposing agenda on the environment] would be back on us in no time.''
At a Dec. 11 meeting, COPE will ``be going out on a high note,'' Stack said. That meeting also will feature the final installment of COPE's nationwide consumer surveys of packaging, solid waste and environmental attitudes.
``It's time to move on,'' said Terry Bedell, a two-term member of the COPE board of directors, which disbanded after a meeting held in Pittsburgh concurrently with the National Recycling Coalition meeting in August. Bedell also once served on the CONEG source reduction council board.
Ann Stubbs, CONEG's policy research center director, said its Washington-based packaging source reduction program will be discontinued. CONEG will change its emphasis to electric power deregulation and federal transportation issues in the coming Congress, Stubbs said.