Market-based Solutions Drive Paper and Packaging Recovery Efforts

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. In each year since 2009, more than 63 percent of paper produced in the U.S. was recovered for recycling. Despite this unparalleled, industry-led progress, state and local governments are considering measures such as traditional extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs that unnecessarily shift the burden of collection and disposal of packaging and printed paper on brand owners and manufacturers.

EPR programs require manufacturers and/or brand owners to assume costs associated with managing waste from their products. However, consistently high recovery rates, and the industry’s ongoing efforts to increase voluntary recovery, make mandates like EPR on paper and paper-based packaging unnecessary. For paper and paper-based packaging, EPR could be harmful and even counterproductive. EPR increases costs for consumers and creates market distortions in the free flow of recyclable commodities to mills that can use it to make new products.

AF&PA paper and packaging recovery, fees and bans priorities include:

  • Promoting voluntary and paper-based packaging recovery efforts; and
  • Improving and expanding existing recovery and recycling programs.

Related: PPRFB One Pager (PDF) | Sustainability Goals | PaperRecycles.org