Policies to Reduce Packaging Waste

Overview Kathleen Hutton

Let’s Collaborate to Reduce Packaging Waste

Seventh Generation is the first company to sponsor this campaign!

Most products are brought to market in packaging that is excessive, unsustainable or both. Globally, nationally and locally, packaging waste causes enormous environmental damage, and good disposal solutions are not widely implemented. The U.S. generates a disproportionately large amount of packaging waste. As business is the source of most product packaging, it is best positioned to advance more sustainable packaging policies. ASBC’s Reduce Packaging Waste campaign offers a way to gather business leaders’ practical insights and collaborate with policymakers to develop packaging waste reduction policies that make sense.

Problem

In shipment to distributors, retailers and consumers, some packaging is necessary to reduce damage to products. However, most product packaging increases damage to the environment all our businesses and consumers depend on. Too often, packaging uses far more material than needed, is made of non-biodegradable materials, or both. This common practice pollutes our environment – globally, nationally and locally. And since good disposal solutions (those without major destructive side-effects) are not widely implemented, the environmental damage is ongoing – and enormously expensive.

The U.S. generates a disproportionately large amount of packaging waste: We have five percent (5%) of the world’s population, but we generate 40% of its packaging waste.1 

The exponential growth of online product sales has accelerated the production of direct-ship-to-user packaging waste. Incineration is a toxic solution, landfills are limited, foreign countries are reluctant to accept America’s packaging waste, recycling is not an option for all materials and is not widely used even when it is an option. The life in essential waterways, including the world’s oceans, is being literally choked with plastics and other non-biodegradable waste. Plastic has been a world-changing solution in protecting food, medical equipment and other necessities against bacterial and viral contamination, but as a fossil-fuel product in ever-increasing use, plastic has become a world-endangering source of pollution. The European Union banned many single-use plastics in 2018, and it is time for the U.S. to do our part. 

Solution 

Business is best positioned to take the lead and collaborate with government to find and implement sensible solutions.ASBC’s Packaging Waste Reduction Policies campaign will:

  • Engage federal agencies to address how lack of uniformity in packaging type and composition seriously hampers waste reduction.   
  • Promote policies to standardize after-use recycling systems to increase quantity and quality of products being recycled. 
  • Incentivize recycling and reuse with targeted initiatives such as investment tax credits & federal financial incentives for reuse.   
  • Showcase best practices by companies that have reduced packaging waste to motivate other businesses and consumers.

Take Action: Please use the form on the right to sign up to participate. You can be as active as you want. We will keep you posted on opportunities to engage, share your experience and ingenuity as a sustainable business leader, and help shape sound proposals to Congress and state legislators and governors, as well as the U.S. Congress and the Administration. Please sign up now!