The Carton Council of North America (CartonOpportunities.org) has released a new report, prepared by Reclay StewardEdge, Inc., which assesses various policies designed to drive recycling of post-consumer packaging and printed paper. Titled “Research and Analysis of Policies that Drive Increased Recycling,” the report provides an overview of selected policies implemented across the United States and identifies best practices both at the state and local levels that private and public sectors can learn from. Three main types of policy mechanisms are covered: disposal bans, recycling policies and Pay-As-You-Throw service fees.
“The report reinforced that decisions really should be made based on local circumstances, including the nature of the existing recycling infrastructure and policies already in place as well as stakeholder concerns and interests,” says Elisabeth Comere, who oversees government affairs for the Carton Council and is director of environment for US and Canada for Tetra Pak Inc.
The Carton Council is sharing the findings from this policy assessment in the hopes that it will help industry as well as state and local governments be better informed and more prepared to consider policy initiatives as one piece of the pie towards improved recovery. Additionally, the Carton Council hopes to play a leadership role in fostering further dialogue around policy together with its industry peers and the public sector. The Carton Council recognizes that policy is only one piece of the puzzle. High-performing recycling programs collect a wide range of recyclable materials, have strong recycling promotion programs and are supported by a balance of policy and funding that stimulate infrastructure development and incentivize participation in recycling.
As a follow-up to the report, the Carton Council is hosting a policy forum on September 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in New Orleans.
“The Carton Council report provides an impetus in fostering valuable discussions and best practice sharing to ensure stakeholders are informed and aware of the options for their local recycling programs,” says Will Sagar, executive director of the Southeast Recycling Development Council. “Policy helps support successful recycling for municipalities, counties and states nationwide.”
Completion of this policy assessment and disseminating of the results are part of the Carton Council’s efforts towards increasing recovery of cartons. Early this summer, the Carton Council announced that access to carton recycling had reached 50 percent in the U.S. This means that now, half of U.S. households can recycle cartons in their communities, whereas only around 18 percent could when the Carton Council was formed in 2009.
“It is well known that when focusing on recovery, the saying ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ rings true. That is why we focused this research on policy that impacts all post-consumer packaging and printed paper, not just cartons,” says Comere.