Friday, October 5, 2012

Public Interest Groups Call on P&G to Help End Packaging Waste

Bob McDonald
Chairman, CEO
Proctor &Gamble
1 Procter & Gamble Plaza
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

RE: P&G’s Sustainability Commitments Regarding Packaging Waste

Dear Mr. McDonald,

We the undersigned, represent organizations from around the United States, concerned about the widespread impacts of packaging waste on our environment and economy.  We commend Procter & Gamble’s “sustainability vision” to use “100% renewable or recycled materials for all products and packaging, having zero consumer waste go to landfills and … maximizing the conservation of resources.”  However, we are deeply troubled by the lack of a plan or context for achieving such a sweeping vision.  We would like to further understand how the company intends to establish metrics, actions and timelines to meet this pledge.  We are interested in working together on solutions to reduce post-consumer packaging waste.

In the U.S., local governments have long subsidized the costs of waste, by assuming full responsibility for recycling and disposal of virtually everything consumers deliver to their curb.  But unfortunately, when costs like these are subsidized, they keep increasing.  The practice where producers privatize the profits of waste, but socialize the costs, can’t be sustained forever. 

According to EPA, products and packaging account for 44% of US greenhouse gas impacts – more than heating and cooling of buildings, local passenger transportation, or food production. Packaging is about a third of the waste stream, and over half of all consumer packaging winds up in the garbage.  If you exclude corrugated cardboard, which is collected at high rates by retailers, the recovery rate for post-consumer packaging falls to an abysmal 26%.  And it only gets worse with plastic, where only 12% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling.  Waste packaging ends up as roadside litter, dioxin emissions from incinerators, the unnecessary depletion of natural resources, and marine debris that fouls our beaches, kills wildlife and leads to the toxic garbage patches throughout the world’s oceans.

Beyond the environmental implications, packaging waste is a lost opportunity to grow American jobs at a time when we desperately need them.  The commodity market value of wasted glass, plastic, paper and metal packaging has been estimated at $11.4 billion dollars.  If the overall US recycling rate grew from 33% to 75% - a rate achieved in European Countries with mature producer responsibility systems – we could create 1.5 million new jobs, according to a report recently issued by the Blue-Green Alliance.  Recycling creates 20 times more jobs than waste disposal.

As the world’s largest consumer and packaged goods company, which is deeply implicated in the problem of packaging waste, we believe you have a moral imperative to help solve it.  We call on you to embrace your responsibility to lead the industry in addressing these challenges.  Increased recycling of packaging can have a significant impact on decreasing the unsustainable extraction of virgin natural resources, reducing marine debris and diminishing air and water pollution.

We therefore urge you to commit to the following:
·       Engage in stakeholder discussions to explore areas of common ground and identify opportunities for P&G to recycle post consumer waste.

·       Explore Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which is being advanced by a growing network of businesses and public interest organizations, as a viable public policy option to achieve your stated sustainability goals.

Please direct responses to Mr. Matt Prindiville with the Product Policy Institute at 207-902-0054 or matt (at)


Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin
Karin Sieg, Executive Director
Stevens Point, WI

Austin Zero Waste Alliance
Stacy Guidry, Chair
Austin, TX

California Product Stewardship Council
Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director
Sacramento, CA

Clean Water Action, Massachusetts
Lynne Pledger, Solid Waste and Recycling Project Director
Boston, MA

Clean Water Action, Rhode Island
Jamie Rhodes, Executive Director
Providence, Rhode Island

Center for Health, Environment& Justice
Mike Schade, Campaign Coordinator
Falls Church, VA

Clayton Kyle, CEO
South Portland, ME

Colorado Association for Recycling
Darla Arians
Boulder CO

Colorado Product Stewardship Council
Darla Arians
Boulder, CO

Conservation Law Foundation
Sean Mahoney, Executive Director
Portland, ME

Central Texas Zero Waste Alliance
J.D. Porter, Chair
Austin, TX

CRADLE2 Coalition
Matt Prindiville, National Coordinator
Rockland, ME

Don’t Waste Massachusetts
Lynne Pledger, Chair
Springfield, MA

Electronics Takeback Coalition
Ted Smith, Chair
San Francisco, CA

Eureka Recycling
Tim Brownell, CEO
Minneapolis, MN

Full Circle Environmental
David Stitzhal, Director
Seattle, WA

Institute for the Development of Educational and Ecological Alternatives Inc. 
Eilee Sison, Director

Marin Recycling and Resource Recovery
Devi Peri, Education Coordinator
San Rafael, CA

Mother Earth Foundation
Sonia S. Mendoza, Chair

Natural Resources Council of Maine
Abby King, Clean Production Project Director
Augusta, ME

Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance
Boyce Thorne Miller, Science Coordinator
Gloucester, MA

New York Public Interest Research Group
Laura Haight, Senior Environmental Associate
Albany, NY

Nothing Left to Waste
Susan Hubbard, Director
Saint Paul, MN

Ocean State Action
Kate Brock, Executive Director
Providence, RI

Oceans Recovery Alliance
Doug Woodring
Hong Kong

Plastic Disclosure Project
Doug Woodring
Hong Kong

Plastic Pollution Texas
Mary Wood, Joe Lengfellner, Patsy Gillham
Houston, TX

Product Policy Institute
Bill Sheehan, Executive Director
Athens, GA

Product Stewardship Institute
Scott Cassell, Executive Director
Boston, MA

Seventh Generation Advisors
Leslie Tamminen
Santa Monica, CA

Texas Campaign for the Environment
Robin Schneider, Executive Director
Austin, TX

Vermont Public Interest Research Group
Lauren Hierl, Policy Advocate
Montpelier, VT

Clean Seas Coalition
Evelyn Wendell, Executive Director
Los Angeles, CA

Women's Voices for the Earth
Erin Switalski, Executive Director
Missoula, MT

Zero Waste Washington
Suellen Mele, Executive Director
Seattle, WA

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