Bottles Green Bottom

Packaging: The final frontier. Or certainly an enormous frontier, comprising nearly one-third of all municipal solid waste in the United States.

Packaging—as a product in its own right—has been managed for recovery in Europe through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws for decades. A major finding from these programs is clear evidence that while economic activity has increased since the laws were implemented, packaging volumes have decreased. This ”decoupling” of growth from waste is the holy grail of triple-bottom line policies in which the economy, the environment and equity issues are in balance.

In the U.S. packaging has yet to be addressed through EPR, though rising concerns over marine debris are intensifying the spotlight on this waste stream. This growing attention may pry open new policies to address the diverse, ubiquitous, typically short-lived packaging products in which all our other products arrive.

Related Projects

Plastic Packaging Management, Evaluation, & Assessment

The 2019 Washington State Legislature found that unwanted products should be managed with priority on prevention and reduction, followed by recycling and reuse, before energy

Read More »

Optimized WA State EPR Recycling Model

In the wake of collapsing Chinese markets for recyclables, King County Solid Waste Division, with key support from Seattle Public Utilities, convened the Responsible Recycling

Read More »

Recycling Systems Framework Research

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality hired our team (RRS, Prime) to support the DEQ-convened Recycling Steering Committee to evaluate and recommend changes in the

Read More »

Domestic Processing of Mixed Plastic – Stakeholder Interviews

Catalyzed by increasing concern about responsible recycling of mixed plastics and China’s National Sword ban, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and King County Solid Waste Division’s

Read More »

Packaging Life Cycle Assessment & Footprint Analysis

EPA is looking to apply LCA methods and tools to identify the environmental impacts of packaging materials, and support the adoption of Sustainable Materials Management

Read More »

Packaging Waste Prevention Technical Assistance

In the early 1990’s Full Circle worked with Sound Resource Management Group to support Snohomish County’s groundbreaking outreach business program to minimize and prevent packaging

Read More »

Packaging Policy & Stakeholder Engagement

Public and private stakeholders, including businesses throughout the life-cycle chain, agree that packaging presents some of the greatest challenges and opportunities for increased recycling and

Read More »