(May 30, 2008) — I have lobbied before state legislators for nearly 30 years responding to calls for more mandates on packagers and packaging users to fix their state's litter problem. Even when a producer takes some practical responsibility for its product's role in the litter stream, it is still the consuming public that bears the responsibility for making the system work. Governments impose mandate after mandate on product/packaging producers and blame producers when the mandates don't affect consumer behavior.
I disagree with the Viewpoint that “For industry to succeed, it has to provide solutions that keep its products from becoming litter” [in the May 26 issue on Page 6 called “Industry must help pick up the litter.”] Industry has and continues to provide a plethora of expensive technological and systematic solutions; and, in some states, pays litter taxes. At the end of the day, litter is the material that leaves the hand of a consumer anywhere but over the opening of a trash or recycling receptacle.
Stopping that single act of irresponsibility is not the role of industry, but of government, broadly defined.
Illinois Tool Works Inc.