Category: Product stewardship

Predicting Policy for Sustainable Materials

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Over the past few years, sustainability has become a priority for innovation teams in materials and chemicals as well as consumer-facing industries like apparel, food, and beauty. Policy is increasingly the core driver of sustainability efforts. We developed a qualitative framework to assess policies, based on impact and probability of adoption. Extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes and taxes on unrecyclable plastic stand out in terms of total impact, while single-use plastic bans are most likely to proliferate.

Maine passes nation’s first law to make big companies pay for the cost of recycling their packaging

Read the full story in the Boston Globe.

After a quarter-century, a Boston-based nonprofit scores big win with nation’s first law making companies pay to recycle the waste they produce.

Future perspectives on the role of extended producer responsibility within a circular economy: A Delphi study using the case of the Netherlands

Campbell-Johnston, K., de Munck, M., Vermeulen, W. J. V., & Backes, C. (2021). “Future perspectives on the role of extended producer responsibility within a circular economy: A Delphi study using the case of the Netherlands”. Business Strategy and the Environment, 1– 14. https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.2856 [open access]

Abstract: Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a proposed policy approach to promoting the circular economy (CE) within the European Union. This research used a policy Delphi to explore perspectives on improving EPR policies to further contribute to the CE goals of the Netherlands. Both the potential improvement and critical reflections discussed by CE and EPR experts and practitioners from this study contribute to a more detailed understanding of the future governance of CE practices. We present various activities to improve EPR and insights from Delphi participants that emerged from the study. This paper shows that whilst actors agree, in essence, that there is a need for modifying EPR, what the specific changes to the form are and to

EPR in the US can’t directly follow the European model; it must avoid a producer monopoly

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Neil Seldman responds to an Ellen MacArthur Foundation statement describing EPR as “a necessary part of the solution to packaging waste and pollution.”

EPA launches stewardship program to reduce PFAS in the marketplace

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a stewardship program to encourage the voluntary withdrawal of previously granted low volume exemptions (LVEs) for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Historically, some new PFAS have been allowed to enter the market through LVEs. The goal of the PFAS LVE Stewardship Program is to stop the ongoing manufacture of PFAS under previously approved LVEs which have not gone through the full pre-manufacture review process under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA will also hold a webinar on July 29, 2021 to provide an overview of the program.

There are approximately 600 PFAS with currently granted LVEs. Through this program, EPA intends to work with trade associations, non-governmental organizations, and companies to encourage voluntary withdrawal of the LVEs. This new program is based on a 2016 outreach effort which resulted in companies withdrawing more than half of the 82 long-chain PFAS LVEs that were targeted for voluntary withdrawal at the time.

To participate in the program, companies with previously granted PFAS LVEs may choose to voluntarily withdraw their LVEs and certify that they will no longer manufacture or import that PFAS. Alternatively, companies may choose to voluntarily withdraw their LVE following submission and review of a pre-manufacture notice, which will provide for a robust safety review and the imposition of appropriate and enforceable protections for human health and the environment. EPA will provide recognition of program participants on its website.

The establishment of the PFAS LVE Stewardship Program follows an announcement in April that new LVE submissions for PFAS would likely be denied since a sufficiently robust safety review is unlikely to be possible in the 30 days the law allows given the potential hazards associated with various subclasses of PFAS and the need to consider their potential persistence in the environment.

Shifts in attitudes on EPR could mean quicker policy change: Circularity 21

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

The U.S. Plastics Pact road map and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s extended producer responsibility endorsements could be signs that EPR is coming into its own — as long as policy can catch up.

Leading businesses call for adoption of Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging

Read the full story at Packaging Europe.

Today, for the first time, more than 100 businesses in the packaging value chain, together with more than 50 other organisations, have publicly announced their support for the adoption of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

The organisations say that that without EPR, packaging collection and recycling is unlikely to be meaningfully scaled and tens of millions of tonnes of packaging will continue to end up in the environment every year.

statement, published today by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, has been signed by leading brands and retailers (including Beiersdorf, Danone, Diageo, Ferrero, FrieslandCampina, H&M, Henkel, Inditex, L’Oréal, Mars, Mondi, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Pick n Pay, Reckitt, Schwarz Group, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Walmart), manufacturers and recyclers (including Borealis, Berry Global, DS Smith, Mondi, Tetra Pak, Indorama Ventures and Veolia), investors such as European Investment Bank and Closed Loop Partners, and NGOs including WWF, The Recycling Partnership, The Pew Charitable Trusts and As You Sow.

California legislators take aim at plastics with new bill package, including contested producer responsibility plan

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

California lawmakers have reintroduced SB 54, a bill that would require all single-use disposable packaging, including food service packaging, to be recyclable or compostable by January 2032. The bill debuted as part of a unified Democrat-led package of almost a dozen other plastic waste-related bills on March 9.

As currently written, the bill leaves out a major part of previous versions, which had required single-use plastic packaging to have a 75% recycling or composting rate by 2032. Bill sponsors anticipate SB 54 will undergo more updates as the legislative session goes on. 

Other new bills aim to standardize recycling labeling on packaging, set minimum recycled content standards for thermoform packaging, and prohibit the state from counting exported plastic scrap in its recycling rate calculations if it is landfilled, burned or dumped.

An American Version of EPR

Read the full story at Waste360.

“Make the manufacturers pay” has become a popular solution for recycling’s problems. It seems simple after all, that if producers pay for recycling instead of local governments, taxpayer money can be used on other services.  Moreover, by “internalizing” the recycling cost, manufacturers will find ways to make their packaging and products more easily recyclable.  Sounds great doesn’t it?

These product stewardship laws, also known as “EPR” for “extended producer responsibility”, are somewhat common in the United States.Thirty-three states have laws covering products that are hard to recycle or contain hazardous constituents. They include, for instance, electronics, paint, carpets, mattresses and mercury-containing thermostats. The programs have been somewhat successful in increasing recycling of those products but have done little to make them more easily recyclable or otherwise change their design. 

Product stewardship for packaging and paper products can be found throughout Europe, in five of Canada’s ten provinces, and in other parts of the world. They cannot be found in any American state. Perhaps, that is, until now. Legislators in nine states are likely to consider statewide producer responsibility legislation this year.  But as they try to establish these programs, they will struggle with the reality that, as the head of the Product Policy Institute said years ago, this type of EPR is “simple in concept, complex in execution”.

Accelerating Recycling: Policy to Unlock Supply for the Circular Economy

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This report offers a collaborative public-private policy solution that includes:
  • a packaging and printed paper fee paid by private sector brands to support residential recycling infrastructure and education and
  • a disposal surcharge on waste generators to help defray recycling operational costs for communities.

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