AMERIPEN Newsletter

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Executive Director's Corner

AMERIPEN Member Highlight


Government Affairs Update

Where is AMERIPEN?

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June 2020

Executive Director's Corner

Welcome to summer. I hope this finds you and your family and friends all well and that you are finding ways to get out and about and enjoy the season. Travel may still be challenging both personally and professionally, but creativity and patience will certainly prevail.

You should have received an email earlier this month announcing the results of the elections for our new Board of Director members. Subsequently, the new Board recently appointed the following members to serve on the AMERIPEN

Executive Committee for the next year:

President – Scott Byrne, Tetra Pak
Vice President – Mike Prentiss, Procter & Gamble
Secretary – Susan Robinson, Waste Management
Treasurer – Cathy Foley, Pratt Industries

You can read more about these Officers and all our Directors here, and great appreciation specifically to Lee Anderson, our outgoing President, for his additional leadership and commitment to AMERIPEN over the past two years. We are very thankful that he will continue to serve on the Board. We also owe a very special thank you to Jeff Wooster with Dow who is cycling off the Board after having served on it for 10 years, most recently as Immediate Past President.

State and federal legislative and regulatory activity related to packaging has picked up over the past month as policymakers have settled into their “new norm” for now – see further below for more information. If you weren’t able to make our federal legislative and regulatory issues webinar on June 5, you can access the recording here. Specific to our principles and objectives for advancing and financing recycling in the United States that we released publicly last month, further dialog with members and many other stakeholders is ongoing to determine what actual financing options AMERIPEN might be able to support as policy makers continue to consider requiring the packaging industry to be financially responsible for the end-of-life management of their products. Please reach out to me or Kyla Fisher if you would like to have a focused discussion with us on this.

Finally, our Annual Summit Planning Committee will be starting up meetings again in July regarding the Annual Summit that was postponed from May to this November in Washington DC. In addition to reassessing meeting content because of COVID-19, the committee will also again be discussing the viability of an in-person meeting even in November. Stay tune for more information on that, including a member survey soon to assess potential corporate travel restrictions throughout this year and into 2021.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you want to strategize about how AMERIPEN can benefit of you and the entire packaging industry value chain. My door is always open and thank for your support of AMERIPEN.

Dan Felton – Executive Director

AMERIPEN Member Highlight

Kelly SmithKelly Smith

Director of Government and Institutional Affairs for Ferrero USA and newly elected AMERIPEN Board member

Smith: My husband and I have lived in Arlington, VA, for almost 20 years. We met and got married here and now have two wonderful boys (Henry, 8 and Everett, 3) and an Australian Shepherd (Ripley, 12).

Felton: I see you graduated University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. How did you pick that school and what did you study there?

Smith: I come from a long line of Carolina grads including both of my parents so it was really the only option! I loved pretty much every minute and studied international relations with a focus on political science.

Felton: What was your first job out of college and how long did you stay there?

Smith: I moved to DC the summer after graduating from UNC. My first job was as Assistant to the General Counsel at the American Beverage Association (ABA). Bucking the young person’s trend of changing jobs frequently, I was at ABA for 10 years, moving through various roles and ending my time there as Director of Government Affairs. Along the way, I worked in federal, state and local affairs, managed the ABA PAC and led the environmental portfolio.

Felton: Tell me about your role and work at Ferrero USA?

Smith: I work on the government affairs team based in Washington, DC, and manage nutrition and sustainability issues in the U.S. I work with colleagues all over the world to exchange information and strategies to navigate issues impacting the company. Included in this is figuring out how policies in the U.S. market can help contribute to our global packaging recyclability goals. Ferrero has pledged to make 100% of our packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 and we have signed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. A major focus of my work is making sure our efforts in this area – as well as nutrition, food safety, transparency, labeling, social responsibility and other topics – are aligned with overall company objectives and help drive progress in the U.S.

Felton: What gets you excited about the work you are doing for Ferrero?

Smith: I’ve only worked for North American companies, so Ferrero’s reach to more than 170 countries around the world is fascinating to me.  Adapting a global company into diverse individual markets is a huge effort and I’ve found it adds a whole new layer onto my thinking about issue management. At the same time, Ferrero is building its presence in the U.S. market and it’s fun to be part of a team that is developing a network and footprint – both physically and in the various policy discussions impacting our business.

Felton: Why did Ferrero join AMERIPEN and do you hope we will add value to your company?

Smith: As we build our engagement in the U.S., we need to have a deeper knowledge about the legislative developments guiding packaging sustainability in this country.  The U.S. is a major market not only for sales, but for the impact it can have on our environmental goals. AMERIPEN gives us valuable insights into policy debates in the U.S. and provides us with an opportunity to help shape the discussion. The AMERIPEN team has built a fantastic reputation not only as technical experts in this area, but as respected collaborators, and it’s tremendous to be able to tap into their knowledge and connections.

Felton: You have both sustainability and government affairs expertise. How do they complement each other?

Smith: For most of my career, environmental topics weren’t burning policy issues. That’s changed in the last few years and, increasingly, my government affairs background is valuable to supplement the technical knowledge of my packaging design colleagues. Being able to relay information on what policymakers, NGOs and other stakeholders are thinking and driving toward is very helpful I think.

Felton: Let’s get personal again. What’s it been like working from home with your family during the pandemic?

Smith: Well, with two young children, it’s been an adventure for sure.  Like lots of people, we have a constant juggle of activity during the day – video conference calls, webinars, emailing, schooling, piano lessons, facetime playdates, backyard games, cooking, eating, cleaning – but overall it’s been nice to have the time together. My multitasking skills are at an all-time high for sure, which has helped me be more efficient at work tasks. It’s also made me more aware of the need to prioritize and focus on what is the most impactful for my job and Ferrero overall.

Felton: Any hobbies we should know about?

Smith: Several months ago I would have said travel and following the Nationals, but these days it’s more home-based, catching up on books and television shows I’ve missed.

Felton: Finally, something for other AMERIPEN members to investigate with you on their own. Tell me two truths and one lie about you.

Smith: I was born in Manhattan. I’ve been to two dozen Bruce Springsteen concerts. I once shared a cab with Paul Rudd.


Financial Mechanisms Taskforce

AMERIPEN continues to engage in dialogue with key stakeholders (members, TAG, state peers, etc.) to understand reactions to the principles and objectives document released last month. Feedback has so far been positive, although we have received numerous requests for more details on potential implementation processes. Based upon the feedback received, the taskforce will review and work towards developing the next phase of communication to help align industry associations and peers towards a common collaborative vision.

State Market Development Taskforce

AMERIPEN's Recycling Market Development Taskforce is a unique working group that engages stakeholders outside our membership and includes TAG. The focus of this taskforce is to identify how we can support the advancement of work done by state market development organizations to grow end markets and promote the value of recycling.
The taskforce has identified these key priorities:

  1. The promotion and advocacy for recycling market development programs.
  2. Better coordination between packaging design and recycling communities.

With these objectives in mind, the taskforce identified two potential deliverables to be approved by the AMERIPEN Board:

  1. The identification of best practices for market development to help guide and advance the growth of these strategies across the country.
  2. Quantifying corporate goals for recycled content against available resources (infrastructure, policy, and programs).

Should these projects be approved, we may have a need to coordinate with AMERIPEN members this year on datasets for quantifying corporate goals. Please stay tuned.

Government Affairs Update

Federal Hearing on Recycling and Legislative Introduction

June saw two significant developments in Congress on recycling that looked to move the discussion forward on improving recycling across the country.

The first was introduction of the bipartisan “Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Act,” H.R. 7228, in the U.S. House on June 15, based on the work of a Congressional Plastics Solutions Task Force that concluded in December 2019. As explained in this summary, the bill would direct various federal agencies to take actions to support plastics recycling and to improve the nation’s “global competitiveness” by developing standards and best practices for plastics waste reduction and recycling, as well as promoting “interdisciplinary research and curriculum development on advanced polymers, plastic waste remediation, and advanced recycling technologies.” The bill was promptly referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology where further consideration is pending.

The second development was a hearing in the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on June 17 that examined the challenges to recycling in light of China Sword and COVID-19 market issues. While the hearing did not address specific legislation, Senator Udall testified in reference to his (and Rep. Lowenthal’s) “Break-free From Plastic Pollution” legislation and several senators referenced the Senate’s work on the “Save our Seas 2.0” bill that has passed the Senate and is now pending in the House.

AMERIPEN continues to work with coalition partners to show support for recycling infrastructure development proposals, such as the RECOVER and the RECYCLE Acts. Discussions continue as infrastructure remains part of efforts to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis, but timing and the scope of such legislation remains open-ended.

AMERIPEN also remains engaged in discussions around a national approach to improving and financing recycling.



Environment and energy






Plastics (incl. polystyrene)






Single-use bags


Solid waste






Toxic Chemicals




State Legislatures Dive in for Unique Summer

mapAs the summer begins, nearly half of the 50 state legislatures have resumed sessions following COVID-19 pauses in activity. Unlike most summers, especially in election years, states have begun to meet remotely or are holding, or have held, socially distanced sessions in larger physical settings.

While AMERIPEN has not seen a wave of new state legislation, many of the proposals we were tracking earlier in the year are seeing renewed attention.

Additionally, governors continue using executive powers to manage state budgets and economic assistance. Throughout this process, partisan splits have increased within states and between states on their approaches to reopening as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

To aid in keeping track of this fast-changing landscape, Serlin Haley has produced an interactive map that you can use to follow these developments. Members looking to stay engaged with AMERIPEN advocacy efforts as they continue and resume in specific states can participate in the Government Affairs Committee by contacting Katie Wallstein at:

New Jersey Introduces New Recycled Content Legislation for Packaging

On June 4, SB 2515 was introduced in New Jersey. This legislation would establish new recycled content standards for rigid plastic containers, glass containers, paper carryout bags, reusable carryout bags made of plastic film, and plastic trash bags; it would also prohibit the sale of polystyrene loose fill packaging. Following introduction, AMERIPEN immediately flagged it as a priority piece of legislation.

Under the proposed law, “package” would be defined broadly as any “container used to protect, store, contain, transport, display, or sell a product.” Most rigid plastic containers would have to include at least 35% recycled content by January 2022, unless that type of container is not recycled in New Jersey at least 35% of the time. Further, plastic beverage containers would have to include 10% recycled content by 2022, 25% by 2026 and 50% by 2031. Glass containers would generally have to contain 35% recycled content, while plastic film bags would have to contain 20% recycled content by 2022 and 40% by 2025.

The bill was promptly assigned to the Senate Committee on Environment and Energy that the sponsor chairs. The committee held a hearing on the bill on June 17 and AMERIPEN testified with concerns and recommended changes to make the bill feasible given current market issues and compliance challenges. It is expected that this bill will pass the Committee and could gain traction in the Senate and beyond this year or next.

Vermont Advances EPR Legislation for Packaging

This month, the Vermont Senate passed S. 227 and sent the bill to the House for consideration. S.227 originally seemed unrelated to EPR when it was filed in January, but has been amended and now includes a new requirement that Legislative Counsel develop bill that would mandate EPR for paper and packaging for consideration in 2021.

Originally, the bill amended the State’s new statute on single-use plastics to add a section restricting lodging establishments from distributing personal care products to customers in “small plastic bottles.” While it still does create this restriction, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy amended additional language to create the framework that Legislative Counsel’s Office draft an EPR mandate for packaging and printed material to be considered in 2021.

This amended version of S.227 is now in the House Natural Resources Committee where we anticipate it will get a hearing in August and AMERIPEN is planning on testifying. Senator Christopher Bray, the Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, has also indicated that passage of S.227 is a priority for him this year, which will put pressure on the House to move the legislation forward. AMERIPEN is continuing to work with stakeholders in Vermont for coordinating testimony with concerns on this legislation and potential amendment strategies if they become necessary.

Michigan Moves to Modernize Recycling Laws

On May 28, six bills were filed in the Michigan House with the goal of encouraging better materials management by local solid waste programs. These bills are the culmination of a multi-year process that AMERIPEN has participated in and supported due to the development of new benchmark recycling goals.

The bills, HB 5812, HB 5813, HB 5814 and HB 5815 would each make major revisions to individual subparts of the state’s current Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. HB 5817 would create new law setting standards for county materials management plans, while HB 5816 would make materials utilization facilities responsible for encouraging composting.

All six bills were co-sponsored by the same bipartisan sextet (three Republicans and three Democrats), including the chair and ranking minority member of the House Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee where the bills were referred. All six bills are “tie-barred,” which means they will be voted up or down as a package, rather than individually. Among the key proposed reforms are revised benchmark recycling standards mandating that a wider range of materials be accepted for recycling across the state. The bills also set a recycling rate goal of 35% by 2025 and 45% following that. Additionally, a waste planning standard would be to provide access to recycling for at least 90% of the population in all areas of the State.

AMERIPEN voiced strong support for these proposals in testimony during a hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee on June 16, and it is expected that the bill could pass the Committee in June or July.

California Continues to Consider Ways to Improve Recycling

On both the regulatory and legislative fronts, California continues to work on policy that will affect recycling for packaging. This month, the Statewide Commission on Recycling Markets & Curbside Recycling created by AB 1583 (Eggman) will meet for the first time to discuss policy recommendations that will help California achieve it’s 75% recycling, composting and source reduction goal. The commission will also identify products that are recyclable or compostable and regularly collected in curbside recycling programs.

Additionally, as AMERIPEN members know, for over a year we have been engaged in advocacy on California SB 54/AB 1080 and on the California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act of 2020 ballot initiative. It became clear this month that the ballot initiative proponents appear to be looking to get the initiative placed on the November 2022 ballot – a result of the impact of COVID-19 on signature collection. However, Senator Allen has suggested he still intends to push for SB 54 during the Legislature’s August work period before they adjourn for the year. Regardless, AMERIPEN does anticipate continued efforts to pass some policy proposed this year on packaging or plastics even outside of these two current efforts.

AMERIPEN will continue to be engaged in discussions with policymakers and stakeholders throughout the remainder of session and will be part of any negotiations before a proposal passes.

Oregon Recycling Steering Committee Considers EPR

The Oregon Recycling Steering Committee (RSC) created by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality continues to meet on a weekly basis to identify what Oregon’s future recycling system should look like and recommend related legislative proposals.

The RSC has met multiple times since May. So far, discussions have included end of life pathways for material, labeling requirements, contamination reduction, and Extended Producer Responsibility for collection and processing. We know that the legislative proposals will include a statewide list of accepted materials and will have a producer funding element included in the legislation. The EPR discussion has been broken down to four types of EPR systems – Classic EPR, Financial Only EPR, Hybrid (of Classic and Financial) and Rates and Dates. The discussion has been favoring a Financial Only EPR for some of the RSC members.

AMERIPEN continues to participate in every Recycling Steering Committee meeting and is anticipating that DEQ will lead a legislative proposal in 2021. The RSC will take a short break from public meetings and resumeon July 16, where they will continue the EPR discussion. During this time AMERIPEN is also having staff-level discussions with DEQ to ensure our perspectives on EPR are understood.

Washington Plastics Study for Review and Comment

AMERIPEN remains actively engaged in the current comment and input period for the The Plastic Packaging Evaluation and Assessment Law that is to be completed and delivered to the state legislature in late 2020. The bill directs the state Department of Ecology to complete an independent study to gather data on the amount and types of plastic sold in the state, and the management and disposal of that plastic packaging. With this information they plan on offering recommendations to meet the goals of reducing plastic packaging through an industry initiative, recycled content goals or plastic packaging product stewardship.

Cascadia Consulting has been conducting the study for the legislature and they have completed a few steps of the research and want final formal comments submitted by July 15. As a result, there will likely be legislation that is shaped by this study in 2021. Some AMERIPEN members were interviewed by Cascadia for their studies, AMERIPEN recently responded to an online survey conducted by the Department, and we are planning to submit formal comments to the Department by the July 15 deadline.

Additionally, in May, the Department announced they were considering an agency sponsored bill that would repeal chapter 70.95F RCW Labeling of Plastics. This is the code requirement that created the mandate that plastic packaging carry resin numbers with chasing arrows. The Department had stated that requiring a chasing arrow symbol on plastics might lead to contamination in recycling. On June 22, however, the Department announced that they were going to put the proposal on hold. They believe they need more information before they move forward with possible labeling legislation and they plan to continue to work with stakeholders on this.

Where is AMERIPEN?

May 30

Washington State Recycling Market Development Board

AMERIPEN Program Manager Kyla Fisher participated in this meeting via remote access.

June 4

Clemson University Sonoco FRESH COVID Challenge

AMERIPEN Program Manager Dan Felton presented to students via remote access.

June 5

Federal Legislative and Regulatory Webinar

Serlin Haley lobbyist Andy Hackman hosted this webinar for members and a select group of state recycling market development officials. Access recording here.

June 12

Oregon Recycling Steering Committee (RSC)

Serlin Haley lobbyist Lauren Aguilar participated remotely on behalf of AMERIPEN.

June 13

Washington State Recycling Market Development Board

AMERIPEN Program Manager Kyla Fisher participated in this meeting via remote access.

June 16

Michigan House Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee

Serlin Haley lobbyist Andy Hackman remotely submitted oral and written comments to the committee on behalf of AMERIPEN about increasing recycling in the state.

June 17

New Jersey Senate Environment and Energy Committee

Serlin Haley lobbyist Andy Hackman remotely submitted oral and written comments to the committee on behalf of AMERIPEN about recycled content mandates.

June 18

Recycling Leadership Council (RLC) Quarterly Members Meeting

AMERIPEN Executive Director Dan Felton participated via remote access.

Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Workgroup

AMERIPEN staff and Serlin Haley presented via remote access.

June 29

American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Sustainable Packaging Symposium 2020

AMERIPEN Program Manager Kyla Fisher moderating conference sessions and Dan Felton attending via remote access. More information available here.

July 1

IAPRI Mexico 2020: The Future of Packaging

AMERIPEN Executive Director Dan Felton will present via remote access. More information available here.


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