AMERIPEN Newsletter

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Executive Director's Corner

AMERIPEN Member Highlight


Government Affairs Updates

Where is AMERIPEN?

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May 2020

Executive Director's Corner

Welcome, Spring! I feel a bit like a bear coming out of hibernation or a newborn bird testing its wings but not quite able or willing to leave the nest and take full flight. I suspect many of you are having similar feelings and like me are looking forward to getting back out into the world – whatever that might look like moving forward. It has been a challenging time for all of us but seasoned with so many moments of gratitude and inspiration – and great efforts undertaken by you and your companies during the pandemic. Thank you for that.

As previously announced, nominations for the AMERIPEN Board of Directors opened April 15 and closed May 15. You should have received an email this week about our excellent slate of nominees, and the primary contacts for our company members will be casting votes for their company by May 29. Watch for more information soon about the new Board, as well as a special thanks to our outgoing Board members for their dedication and leadership to help guide our direction and ensure that all our stakeholders understand the key roles packaging plays in a more sustainable society, economy and environment.

On May 18, we released our principles and objectives for advancing and financing recycling in the United States (see below for more information). This product represents nearly six months work by our Financial Mechanisms Taskforce chaired by Laura Rowell with Sonoco and staffed by Kyla Fisher, our Program Manager. Thanks to them and all the taskforce members who dedicated many, many hours to this process that in many ways is just underway as we will now use the principles and objectives to help inform discussions with members and other key stakeholders about possible financing policy options moving forward. Your participation in these discussions is welcome and encouraged – stay tuned for more information about that very soon.

State and federal legislative and regulatory activity related to packaging has remained relatively quiet over the past month (see below for more information). In the interim, we hosted an interactive and well attended advocacy and lobbying webinar for members earlier this month – special thanks to Terry Grill (Sealed Air), Laura Rowell (Sonoco) and Lee Anderson (General Mills) for presenting great examples during the webinar. We’ll be hosting another webinar on June 5th on federal legislative and regulatory issues and hope that you can join us – register here.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you want to strategize about how AMERIPEN can benefit 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

Jonathan Quinn

E-Commerce Market Manager for NOVA Chemicals

Felton: Tell me a little bit about you and your family and where you live.

Quinn: My wife Molly and I live in Pittsburgh with our three-year-old daughter Emerson and one-year-old son Greyson. We also cannot forget our black lab Howie. We moved from Chicago almost 4 years ago when I started with NOVA Chemicals.

Felton: I know you spent some time living and working in Chicago. Any favorites from there?

Quinn: Where do I begin? Chicago is my hometown and will always be my favorite city in the world. There is no better place to be in the summer. The restaurants are amazing, although sadly I hear from friends and family that we’re already seeing some favorites disappear as a result of the stay-at-home orders. Hugo’s Frog Bar is my favorite restaurant in the city - great food, great employees and great atmosphere. Chicago is also an entertainment mecca whether its live music (pre and post COVID-19) or sports. The Cubs, Blackhawks, & Bulls are my teams; there is never a shortage of entertainment on a given day or night. 

Felton: You graduated Clemson University College of Business. Did you study packaging there?

Quinn: That is correct. Going to Clemson was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Go Tigers! I actually double majored in both Business Management and Packaging Science. While I was there, I also completed multiple internships - one with Pregis in the UK, one with Scholle in Holland, and one with Pliant, which has since been purchased by Berry Global. I studied abroad in China as well, focused on gaining international business experience and studying the Chinese language and culture.

Felton: How long have you been at NOVA Chemicals and what do you currently do there?

Quinn: I have been in the marketing organization for my entire four years with NOVA. My first role was market development manager, helping to connect NOVA with companies throughout the value chain for collaborative work on new products and applications. Earlier this year I took on the new role of E-commerce Market Manager. Our team is supporting our customers in developing sustainable e-commerce packaging solutions that optimize the protection of goods, reduce the amount of material used and ensure packaging is recyclable. Through our product offerings and technical expertise, we are working to rethink and reimagine packaging for the e-commerce supply chain with sustainability in mind.

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

Quinn: Two things are top of mind. First, my team is amazing. Every day they come to work ready to tackle the challenges of this very dynamic and exciting market. Second, e-commerce is transforming the retail landscape. We have a unique opportunity to help companies successfully transform their packaging to support the rigors and challenges that e-commerce presents.

Felton: How does AMERIPEN add value to your company?

Quinn: I see several significant benefits to NOVA coming out of our AMERIPEN membership. The first is AMERIPEN’s ability to inform and influence policymaking. It is critical that government understand the science and true impact that packaging has had in making our modern lives possible. The second is in the information that AMERIPEN provides member companies. Being informed on current thinking among policymakers allows us to adjust our own work and outreach activities. Another benefit that cannot be overlooked is the collaborative nature of the member companies. I always come away from AMERIPEN meetings with a strong sense of pride; while members may have differing perspectives on materials, we all come together to better the packaging industry and the lives of consumers. That is something special!

Felton: What, in your view, is on the horizon for the packaging industry and how might AMERIPEN help with that?

Quinn: It is no secret that the e-commerce sector has seen tremendous growth over the past 10 years and now with COVID-19 that is only increasing. E-commerce expected to account for more than 20% of US retail by the third quarter of this year, nearly doubling in size in 9 months. It’s critical to understand what potential regulation and policy could be on the horizon and to be able to influence this regulation with scientific data.

Felton: Let’s get personal again. Any hobbies we should know about?

Quinn: My wife and kids. They mean the world to me so every free minute I have, I take advantage of being able to spend time with them. Since we have been quarantined together and I have not been traveling, my kids still think dad is cool, although my wife may have different thoughts! Aside from that, I’m a big golfer and I love Clemson football.

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

  1. Michael Phelps and I were on the same swim team growing up
  2. I was on a junior US National Golf team
  3. I was born in Germany


Financial Mechanisms Taskforce

AMERIPEN recently released a document explaining the Principles and Objectives behind a potential industry funded financing mechanism for recycling. This document outlines what we believe needs to be the parameters and purpose of funding should industry be asked to support curbside recycling programs. The principles document was developed from an initial needs assessment that explored what industry needed to see from the recycling system in order to support a circular packaging economy. From there we then explored what we might be willing to fund to support that vision.

In releasing the principles and objectives before agreeing upon any specific funding mechanisms, we believe we are opening the dialogue to discuss what are the key levers within recycling that need change and how we can best leverage stakeholder strengths to achieve that. Some of that may be done through funding but complimentary policy and other tools like packaging innovation and design may also be needed and should be included in a final plan.

We are now in dialogue with key stakeholders (members, associate members, TAG, state peers, etc.)  to understand reactions to the principles and objectives and explore funding mechanisms and we anticipate returning with more details for member review soon.

Please stay tuned for some forthcoming webinars to explain our process and next steps. In the meantime, please reach out to Kyla Fisher or Dan Felton if you would like to learn more.

State Market Development Taskforce

AMERIPEN believes that market development is key to advancing a circular packaging economy. We believe that state or regional based market development efforts have been effective in attracting investment and identifying regional needs and could play a unique role in supporting efforts to modernize our recycling systems in the U.S. The recent launch of our taskforce has been well received and we are in the process of finalizing the taskforce strategy that will emphasize our strengths in bringing together the packaging value chain to facilitate communication between the packaging and recycling communities as well as play a supporting role in advocating for the value of market development programs.

This is a unique taskforce for AMERIPEN as it consists of external state market development staff members and does not yet engage members, however we are confident as the strategy develops there will be further engagement points for our membership. Please reach out to Kyla Fisher should you have any questions.

Goverment Affairs Updates

State Legislatures Start to Reboot for 2020

As 2020 rolls forward, state legislatures are beginning to restart as states reopen following COVID-19 outbreaks. Several key states have begun to meet remotely or have announced plans to hold special sessions or extend sessions this summer and fall in order to accomplish additional policy work.

Additionally, governors continue using executive powers to manage reopening and economic assistance. Throughout this process, partisan splits within states and between states on their approaches to reopening are increasing as the COVID-19 crisis continues.  While these disagreements typically do not involve AMERIPEN issues, the political tension could impact the pace of future legislative work.

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 and Coalition by contacting Katie Wallstein at:



















Solid Waste









Vermont Legislation still being Considered to Require 2021 Development of EPR for Packaging

Earlier this year, a Vermont bill (S. 227) was amended and now includes a new requirement that Legislative Counsel develop a 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 for an EPR mandate for packaging and printed material. 

This amended version of S.227 was passed by the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy in late March and will next be considered in the Senate Finance Committee.  Vermont has not suspended session due to the coronavirus crisis and is meeting remotely, now acting on policy bills that were paused by the COVID-19 crisis. 

Additionally, Senator Christopher Bray, Chair of the Natural Resources and Energy Committee, has now indicated that passage of S.227 is a priority for him this year.  We expect passage in the Senate soon and consideration in the House in June, or as the Legislature drags session into the summer or during special session.

California Continues to Forge New Ground on Recycling

On both the regulatory and legislative fronts, California continues to work policy that will affect recycling for packaging and foodservice ware.  This month, Cal Recycle released their proposed regulations required by SB 1335 (2018, Allen) that will determine how food service packaging will be evaluated in order to be considered recyclable, reusable or compostable, when purchased for use in state-owned buildings.

AMERIPEN submitted comments to Cal Recycle on the proposed regulations since these definitions are likely be used for other types of packaging in future California laws and regulations. As for next steps, Cal Recycle will consider the public comments and revise the regulations as needed. They will then publish the revised regulations this summer and will provide a 15-day public comment period for more input. The goal is to have the regs adopted by January 1, 2021 and have an approved list of products published sometime in Spring 2021.

As AMERIPEN members also know, for over a year AMERIPEN has continued to work with other industry players on California SB 54/AB 1080, as well as the California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act of 2020, a ballot initiative that environmental proponents are trying to get placed on the November 2020 ballot.  It looks like the ballot initiative will not have enough signatures to comfortably send to the Secretary of State’s office to qualify for this year’s ballot. The impacts of COVID-19 have made it difficult to get enough signatures to qualify, and current speculation is that the proponents are looking at a 2022 ballot placement.

Meanwhile, SB 54 is still a priority for the author of the bill, Senator Ben Allen.  Increasingly, though, industry stakeholders have been discussing continued concerns and efforts to defeat this bill, considering economic stress on the California budget and impacted businesses because of COVID-19.  However, some industry players also continue to consider alternative proposals to SB54/AB1080 and the ballot initiative.  Regardless, AMERIPEN does anticipate continued efforts to pass some policy proposal this year, especially when the legislature begins its traditional fast-paced schedule in August.  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 any proposal passes.

Oregon Moves Quickly on EPR Framework

In Oregon, as previously reported, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has created a Recycling Steering Committee (RSC) that has been working to identify what Oregon’s future recycling system should look like.

The committee lost some meeting time with COVID-19 and they now are meeting on a weekly basis to have a legislative proposal outlined by June.  The RSC has met three times so far and their discussions have included end of life pathways for material, labeling requirements, contamination reduction and the expansion of the state’s bottle bill. Additionally, Oregon is considering a labeling proposal like the State of Washington to remove the requirement for chasing arrows and resin codes on plastic packages. However, some recycling members would rather have a complete ban on the arrows on packages in the state, claiming the resin codes are the biggest cause of contamination in the curbside bins. The RSC will continue to discuss the labeling of packages in the state for the next several weeks, as well as other topics to modernize recycling systems.

The next RSC meeting will start the EPR discussion and will be a 3-hour public meeting. AMERIPEN continues to virtually participate in every RSC meeting, monitoring what the DEQ legislative proposal will look like next year so that we can be ready to respond accordingly.

Washington State Releases Plastic Study and Considers Removing Chasing Arrows Mandate

In 2019 Washington State passed SB 5397 (The Plastic Packaging Evaluation and Assessment Law), a plastics study that is to be completed and delivered to the state legislature in late 2020. The law 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 legislative recommendations to meet the goals of reducing plastic packaging through industry initiatives or plastic packaging product stewardship.

The Department of Ecology hired Cascadia Consulting to conduct the study and they have released the first report of the Washington Plastic Study to the public. This report compiles research on policy and technology options and innovations for managing plastic packaging waste and highlights several examples from existing programs around the world. AMERIPEN helped coordinate participation of members in the study. Cascadia has released a survey to gather feedback on the options that are identified in the report and responses to the survey will be considered in the development of the final recommendation that will be sent to Legislature. It is likely there will be proposed legislation in 2021 shaped by the study.

The Department of Ecology is also considering proposing an agency sponsored bill that would repeal chapter 70.95F RCW Labeling of Plastics. This code requirement created the mandate that plastic packaging carry resin numbers with chasing arrows.  The Department of Ecology believes that requiring a chasing arrow symbol on plastics may lead to contamination in recycling when these plastics are placed with other recyclable products for collection.  The repeal of this chapter would still allow for packages with the symbol to be sold in the state, but it will not be a mandated.  Other groups have suggested that this proposal does not go far enough.  Regardless, AMERIPEN will be involved in negotiations through the summer on these proposals and the plastics study.


AMERIPEN Continues to Support Federal Action to Aid Recycling

Activity at the federal level has continued, due in part to the COVID-19 crisis and a push for federal activity and political incentive for bi-partisan agreements.  During this time, AMERIPEN has elevated our federal advocacy and demonstrated support if/when infrastructure becomes part of a COVID-19 recovery package. 

As previously discussed, Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) have introduced HR 5115, the bipartisan Realizing the Economic Opportunities and Value of Expanding Recycling (RECOVER) Act in the House of Representatives.  The legislation would allocate $500 million in matching federal grants, over 5-years, to eligible states, local municipalities, and tribal governments to invest in improving their recycling infrastructure, programs, and education efforts.  AMERIPEN has been part of an active coalition effort to include the RECOVER Act in that package. 

Similarly, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) have introduced S. 2941, the Recycling Enhancements to Collection and Yield through Consumer Learning and Education (RECYCLE) Act that aims to establish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants of $15 million annually to help educate consumers about residential and community recycling programs. 

AMERIPEN also voiced strong support for this bill and its inclusion in the next package of funding and policy as a response to COVID-19. 

While in the short-term infrastructure has fallen off top-priorities for COVID-19 response, AMERIPEN continues to work with coalition partners to show support for both the RECOVER and the RECYCLE Acts.  Discussions continue as infrastructure remains part of efforts to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis. 

AMERIPEN Expresses Concern about Proposed Canadian Plastics Restrictions

On May 1, AMERIPEN submitted comments to Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada regarding a draft science assessment that proposes to classify plastics as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). We and many others in Canada and the U.S. are very concerned about this approval and the very negative impact it could have on packaging policy in both countries. While AMERIPEN is a material-neutral trade association, classifying any material, plastic or otherwise, as “toxic” when that clearly is not the case from a toxicological perspective is simply not justified. We also signed on to a multi-trade association letter that the American Chemistry Council (ACC), an AMERIPEN associate member, coordinated and that expressed concerns about how the proposed restrictions could have unintended and detrimental trade consequences to Canada and the global trading system. We will continue to monitor activity on the proposed restrictions and respond accordingly.

Where is AMERIPEN?

May 1

Oregon Recycling Steering Committee (RSC)

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

May 6

REMADE Design X Strategy

AMERIPEN Executive Director Dan Felton and Program Manager Kyla Fisher participated remotely.

May 8

Advocacy and Lobbying 101 Webinar

AMERIPEN Executive Director Dan Felton and Serlin Haley lobbyists Andy Hackman and Lauren Aguilar hosted this members-only webinar. See recording here.

May 12

Recycling Leadership Council (RLC) Speaker Series – Academics

AMERIPEN Executive Director Dan Felton participated via remote access.

May 21

Texas Recycling Market Development Recycling Industry Committee (RIC)

AMERIPEN Executive Director Dan Felton participated in the first meeting via remote access.

May 26

WA State Recycling Market Development Board

AMERIPEN Program Manager Kyla Fisher participated via remote access.

May 28

Recycling Leadership Council (RLC) Speaker Series – Legislative Outlook

AMERIPEN Executive Director Dan Felton participated via remote access.

June 4

WA State Recycling Market Development Board

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

June 5

Federal Legislative and Regulatory Webinar

Serlin Haley lobbyist Andy Hackman will host this webinar for members and a select group of state recycling market development officials. Register here.


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