By The Board of Directors,
CALLING FOR RECYCLING POLICES
AS AN EFFECTIVE WAY
TO BOOST PACKAGING RECYCLING
AMERIPEN is an organization with a diverse membership that is aligned to advance and promote packaging recovery through the use of effective policy tools. AMERIPEN members have pulled together to accomplish some noteworthy work.
In 2012, AMERIPEN completed a 2-year study of the 100 largest cities in America to determine areas of opportunity for standardization and adoption of best practices that could effectively increase the recovery of used packaging in the United States. Following this study, AMERIPEN published a white paper entitled, ‘AMERIPEN Analysis of Strategies and Financial Platforms to Increase the Recovery of Used Packaging.‘
As a result of both of these research initiatives and AMERIPEN’s commitment to facts based policy positions, AMERIPEN members are working to support:
- Use of proven practices with respect to recycling program operations and promotion, and
- Adoption of policies at the state and local level that support and encourage recycling.
More specifically, AMERIPEN advocates for policies mandating universal access to recycling opportunities and “Pay-As-You-Throw” unit based pricing that ties the cost of waste collection to the amount of waste that is generated, thereby encouraging both waste reduction and recycling. In addition, AMERIPEN supports policies to discourage recyclable packaging from entering the waste stream, where stable recycling markets exist. While there is much debate over who should operate and pay for recycling systems, there is little debate over the need for increased use of efforts to boost recovery and recycling of used packaging. Because of the nature of this area of policy AMERIPEN is engaged at the state level to work with local stakeholders to find workable policies that help drive more packagaing materials into existing recycling markets. In particular, AMERIPEN is working with stakeholders in Minnesota, Maine, Rhode Island, and beyond to support workable policies at the state-level that achieve greater packaging recycling.
AMERIPEN as along with many others regard such efforts as an inherent part of sustainable materials and zero waste management and a means of furthering the transition to a circular materials economy. In addition, in a context of low market value for recyclable commodities, best practices and policies to boost recycling participation and materials recovery are needed to improve the cost-effectiveness of recycling systems.
We encourage all who seek to advance materials recovery and recycling to support local and state adoption of these policy tools as one step forward that we can all get behind.