Paper and Packaging Recovery, Fees and Bans
Thanks to voluntary recycling programs, industry leadership and the efforts of millions of Americans who recycle at home, work and school every day, the national paper recovery rate has doubled since 1990. Despite this unparalleled, industry-led progress, state and local governments are considering measures such as traditional extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs that put the burden of collection and disposal of packaging and printed paper on brand owners and manufacturers.
Recently EPR supporters have advocated for related policies such as landfill/disposal bans, recycling mandates, food service packaging bans, bottle bills, container bans, product taxes, waste directives and product specific fees or bans on packaging or printed paper.
- Voluntary and paper-based packaging recovery efforts; and
- Improving and expanding existing recovery and recycling programs
AF&PA opposes EPR and related policies because:
- EPR obligates manufacturers and/or brand owners to assume costs associated with managing waste from their products; and
- EPR increases costs for consumers and creates market distortions in the free flow of recyclable commodities.
Paper Recycling in the U.S.
- Markets for recovered fiber are developed: The amount of paper going to landfills has declined by nearly half since 2000.
- There is broad consumer access to paper recycling: In 2014, 96 percent of Americans had access to community curbside and/or drop-off paper recycling.
- Paper is recycled at a high rate: Each year since 2011, 63 percent or more of paper used in the U.S. has been recovered for recycling and in 2016 the paper recovery rate reached a record 67.2%.
Continued Industry-Led Efforts
The industry’s sustainability initiative, Better Practices, Better Planet 2020, includes a goal to increase paper recovery for recycling to exceed 70 percent.
For more information on the industry’s sustainability goals, and resources to improve paper recycling efforts, visit afandpa.org/sustainability and paperrecycles.org.