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The Burden of Bioplastics

Alexander Watson Associates (AWA) has just completed its first edition of the Pressure Sensitive Label Waste Management Report. It’s a summary of where waste is generated in our supply chain, the complexity of logistics and packaging, and the difficulty of developing a comprehensive, “one size fits all,” solution; very daunting, to say the least. The report touches one aspect that I have written about in colloquial terms but never referred to in a more formal fashion: EPR, Extended Producer Responsibility. While the broad implications of EPR are a long way off, we are beginning to see more advocacy for making manufacturers responsible for what they produce, from cradle to cradle. As Scott Mouw, recycling director for the State of North Carolina says, “We can’t get to the top of the mountain staying on the road we’re on now.” I think he’s right and I have urged in countless columns that the company that manufactures take responsibility for solving byproduct generation. Hence, the OEM is responsible for a solution for the matrix that is generated by the converter. And, the converter is responsible for providing a solution for spent liner that is generated by the end user. And, so on, through the value chain. We are seeing a groundswell that supports EPR from organizations like the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, the American Institute for Packaging and the Environment, the Packaging Association of Canada, and others. So take heed as change is in the wind.

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