- An internal memo sent to the director of the California Department of Resources Recycling Recovery (CalRecycle) recommends creating "a mandatory comprehensive, statewide packaging program" in the state, as reported by Resource Recycling.
- At a meeting in January, officials asked manufacturing and trade association representatives to think of ways to reduce the amount of packaging going to landfills 50% by 2020. Officials weren't satisfied with the ideas presented, particularly because they relied on continued government funding.
- Along with the potential for an extended producer responsibility (EPR) system, the memo also mentions the potential for a landfill ban on materials such as cardboard, glass and plastic containers.
The memo notes that in many cases, packaging technology has outpaced the ability of local recycling programs to collect and process it. This is cited as a factor behind the 8 million tons of packaging waste that are sent to landfills in the state every year, a number which CalRecycle must reduce to meet the state's goal of 75% diversion by 2020.
EPR legislation exists in many states for batteries, mattresses and electronics, but aside from Rhode Island few states have ever tried to pass regulations on packaging. While EPR rules exist in some other countries, they have been largely opposed by the U.S. packaging industry. Some industry associations have released guidelines for making products more recyclable and researchers continue working on new advances in biodegradable or edible packaging.
CalRecycle plans to continue discussing these issues with manufacturers and working with groups such as the American Chemistry Council, the Closed Loop Fund and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Packaging is also on the agenda at CalRecycle's next public meeting on Sept. 20.