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Clarity is Key When Defining Packaging Materials and Management Processes

Posted By AMERIPEN, Thursday, December 6, 2018

Clarity is Key When Defining Packaging Materials and Management Processes

There are 18 different definitions of recycling across the U.S. and even more globally. Yet how we define recycling and other key terms – “recyclable,” “reusable,” “compostable,” “renewable” and “recycled content” – has a major influence on the future of packaging. Understanding of what is meant by these terms informs how goals are set and results are measured, influences policy creation and drives the application of regulations.

Impact of variation

It’s no surprise that definitions often vary depending upon who’s doing the defining. Unfortunately, these differences can create trade and marketing obstacles when one jurisdiction’s definition differs from another’s. For example, materials deemed recyclable in one location and not in another can have a negative effect on trade and drive consumer confusion. For these reasons, definitions related to packaging materials management must be interpreted consistently.

New guide brings clarity

At AMERIPEN, we believe in clarity. That’s why we developed “Packaging Materials Management Definitions: A Review of Varying Global Standards.” The purpose of this guide is to improve alignment around definitions of packaging materials and management processes.

The AMERIPEN guide reviews and compares global frameworks put forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and others. The document provides a detailed, side-by-side comparison of definitions for common packaging attributes and processes. With this resource you can quickly see, for example, how the definition of “reusable” varies by source, including those provided by the FTC Green Guides, ISO 14021:2016 – Environmental Labels and Declarations, ISO 18603:2013 – Packaging and the Environment, the European Waste Framework Directive and others.

As the vision of a circular economy grows – and along with it the proliferation of definitions related to reuse, recycling and composting – there’s increasing uncertainty about which definitions take precedence. The AMERIPEN guide spells out very clearly the legal hierarchy of definitions when it comes to policy and regulatory implications.

See for yourself why this resource is an invaluable tool for anyone seeking to understand the origin and applicability of key terms related to packaging materials management goals and processes. As more brands work toward achieving ambitious 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable goals tied to packaging attributes, understanding how those attributes are defined – and how they affect validation of claims – is instrumental.

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