The American Institute for Packaging and the Environment (AMERIPEN) said there is no ‘silver bullet’ to optimise packaging recovery in the US in an update yesterday.
The group, formed in 2011, recently unveiled its Product Recovery Knowledge Map (PRKM) which covers information to support optimized packaging material recovery.
AMERIPEN also said it will wait until it has all the facts in place before forming a stance on extended producer responsibility (EPR) and it would start lobbying activities when it had a ‘strong story to tell’.
The Recovery Work Group was charged with developing a fact-based understanding of the recovery system – from packaging material generation to material recovery and processing.
Speakers at the webinar included Jeff Meyers, manager of sustainable packaging at Coca-Cola Refreshments, Mary White, strategic supply management supplier outreach manager at PepsiCo and Keefe Harrison, consultant for Resource Recycling Systems.
Meyers said the packaging neutral group were always looking for external partners and new members to strengthen potential projects and technical advisory groups.
He said three teams were formed, Packaging Material, Collection and Processing Infrastructure and Recovery Systems Participation, with the overall aim of developing recommendations to the membership about optimizing the recovery infrastructure.
The Packaging Material group were tasked with establishing the packaging generation and disposal fact base, the Collection and Processing Infrastructure group identified collection and processing postulates, filled data gaps with new research and generated strategies to improve curbside recovery.
Recovery Systems Participation looked at evaluating system based approaches that drive supply and selected key focus areas to improve consumer participation.
100 cities project
White outlined a four step process until the end of next year for the group’s future progress.
The recovery work group is working on the 100 cities data, step two from January to March 2013 will involve narrowing test markets and recovery scenarios and building public engagement, step three from April to June will see recovery implementation plans, partnerships and staging and step four from July to December will see the start of up to eight recovery projects, she said.
Harrison explained about the 100 cities project, which involves collecting municipal data from 100 largest cities across 36 states and the District of Columbia, by households in the US, analysing five key categories of best practice metrics that include positive recovery of packaging.
She said the aim is to put together a robust database for understanding results under the themes of collection, processing, education, participation strategies and financial.
Aluminium, glass, paper, plastic, steel, wood will be studied in terms of quantity, quality, participation, environmental attributes and financial implications.