A new study on packaging recycling concludes that the United States’ lagging rates result in significant market inefficiencies and a strain on taxpayers and the environment.
The study, released by the San Francisco-based environmental non-profit organization, As You Sow, estimated that the value of wasted, recyclable packaging materials exceeded $11 billion in 2010.
The report recommended a shift in the collection and recycling of post-consumer packaging from taxpayers to packaging makers, or extended producer responsibility (EPR), according to a news release.
“Unfinished Business: The Case for Extended Producer Responsibility for Post-Consumer Packaging,” also details how EPR can provide producers with the incentive to reduce the packaging they generate, increase packaging recycling rates, provide revenue to improve recycling systems and reduce carbon and energy use.
Packaging represents an untapped opportunity for producer responsibility, the study claims, because the raw materials in packaging, such as petroleum and fiber, are expected to become increasingly scarce as world population reaches 9 billion by 2050.