Thursday, November 15, 2012

GMA conclusions disputed by Ramsey County MN

By Bill Sheehan, Executive Director

Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging is getting the attention of consumer packaged goods companies.  Some are using their trade associations to argue  for bigger government and higher taxes to increase packaging recycling.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) released a report (written by the consulting  firm SAIC) in September highly critical of EPR for packaging.  On October 26, the new trade association AMERIPEN adopted an internal policy:  “We are committed to increasing recycling and recovery rates in the U.S. through collaboration and teamwork among key stakeholders, by bringing more efficiency into our existing system, and incorporating best practices, all without the financial and administrative burden of an EPR system.”

More on both of these positions in coming weeks.  For now, you should know that the GMA report’s analysis and conclusion that “U.S. communities and states that have instituted non-EPR policies can achieve high recycling rates within a reasonable cost…” is based  on a single data point – from Ramsey County MN – and Ramsey County does not concur with GMA’s conclusions

Some highlights from the Ramsey County analysis:
  • The report only cites recycling rates for three jurisdictions -- Ramsey County, Minnesota, and California -- and only cites one cost figure, the $156 net cost for residential recycling in communities in Ramsey County.
  • Ramsey County does NOT concur with the conclusions, which are not adequately supported in the report.
  • Ramsey County Board of Commissioners has made support of product stewardship/EPR its top priority in solid waste policy.
One thing the GMA report does admit:   EPR is about fairness, putting responsibility on those who profit from and use products and associated packaging:  producers and consumers.  And EPR is “inherently fairer” (than making taxpayers pay).

[For a copy of Ramsey County's 8-page response, email ]

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