Plastics and Packaging

Several U.S. states are considering policies that would make appliance manufacturers responsible for ensuring that the packaging used to ship their products is recycled. The proposals so far have focused heavily on reducing the prevalence of single-use plastic material.

AHAM recognizes the importance of finding solutions on this important environmental issue. AHAM is supporting the California Plastic Waste Reductions Initiative as a way to reduce single-use plastic packaging that does not carry the increased costs, lack of results and administrative burdens of EPR. The initiative, which will be on the California state ballot in November 2022, would require producers to pay a penny-per-piece fee on single-use plastic packaging, as well as implement a number of measures to ensure that all single-use plastic packaging is reusable, refillable or compostable by 2030. Read AHAM’s op-ed in Resource Recycling, explaining why the initiative offers a simpler, more effective and efficient solution for reducing single-use plastic packaging waste. 

Plastics’ benefit to society is indisputable, and reducing its environmental footprint requires sound public policy. AHAM is interested in being part of the solution and will support reasonable policies on plastics and recycling that are consistent with AHAM's 8 Key Principles to Manage Packaging:

• Source reduction requirements must be realistic and consider whether packaging alternatives are adequate.
• Policies must recognize the difference between consumer and non-consumer facing packaging.
• Extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies, which are supposedly intended to make manufacturers responsible for the costs of recycling, must give manufacturers the ability to exercise proper oversight without being required to give preferential treatment to existing partners, collectors, or municipal recycling programs during the EPR program’s design and implementation.
• Recycling infrastructure, which is currently inadequate to meet even current needs, must be improved. 
• Responsibility for recycling requirements must be based on who has authority, and targets must be realistic.
• Post-consumer content (percentage of packaging made from recycled material) requirements must be realistic.
• Recycling policies must be harmonized so people clearly understand what to recycle and how. 
• Implement “pay as you throw" and enforce consumer recycling requirements.

Multiple stakeholders, including state, local and federal governments, must come together and identify responsible policy solutions that address this important environmental matter and recognize the role that manufacturers, businesses and consumers play in the delivery and disposal of consumer goods.