The Tech Box
Mar 21, 2023
Discussions and policymaking regarding extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging have grown in the United States for the last few years. There are well-established EPR regulations for packaging in other regions, particularly in the European Union and Canada.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an environmental policy approach that extends a producer's responsibility for a product to the post-consumer state of a product's life cycle. Packaging producers would need to provide funding and services that assist in managing all packaging types, paper products, and beverage containers after the use phase. Packaging means any material intended for single or short-term use used for the containment, protection, handling, or delivery of products to a consumer at the point of sale, including through the internet.
Organizations and policymakers increasingly point to effective EPR as a necessary component of a comprehensive approach to addressing recycling challenges and concerns over single-use product pollution. But, while EPR programs can be an effective solution for products that are difficult to collect or process or have low recycling rates, those don't apply to paper-based packaging.
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) has been working to share information with policymakers about EPR programs; to help them understand the opportunities and consequences of their policy decisions.
And there has been good news. The corrugated packaging industry has long been committed to an effective and efficient system for recycling. With an OCC recycling rate hovering around 90 percent for the last decade, state legislatures do not include corrugated in some of the most recent bills passed.
The states of Washington, Maine, Oregon, Colorado, and California have each enacted legislation for packaging and printing paper EPR.
Below are links to all legislation that has passed since 2021. With California on track to become the fourth largest economy in the world, it might be a good idea to know legislative moves made in that state.
Chase Kammerer is the Technical Services Manager at Fibre Box Association (FBA). If you have technical questions about the corrugated industry, you can reach him directly at email@example.com.