Packaging Reports

Studying Washington's plastic packaging

Reports and recommendations on the amount and types of plastic packaging produced in Washington or transported into the state; the cost of managing plastic packaging waste for businesses, local governments, and ratepayers; where Washington's plastic packaging winds up; estimating what kind of infrastructure Washington needs to manage its plastic packaging. December 2020.

Oregon Recycling Steering Committee

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) convened a Recycling Steering Committee (RSC) to "consider alternatives and ultimately recommend a path forward to modernize our recycling system. After two years of hard work, the RSC recommended a holistic shared responsibility framework that addresses the challenges in our decades-old recycling system and creates an effective, stable and resilient system for the future." In September 2020, the Oregon RSC released a recommended concept for modernizing Oregon's recycling system (PDF), which included a statewide EPR system for consumer brands and packaging producers and led to the introduction of HB 2065.

Responsible Recycling Task Force reports

The Responsible Recycling Task Force, consisting of representatives from King County, the City of Seattle, cities in King County, solid waste haulers, and stakeholders, formed to respond to changes in international recycling markets and develop a coordinated approach to improving recycling in the region (2018-2020).

EPR for Packaging & Paper Products: policies, practices, and performance

March 2020 report from the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) outlines problems faced by U.S. recycling programs and how extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs in four Canadian provinces have increased packaging recovery and recycling, reduced contamination, and developed markets for difficult-to-recycle materials, plus a case study of the packaging EPR program in British Columbia, North America's first full producer responsibility program for packaging and paper products (PPP).

Policy Best Practices that Support Harmonization: Summaries of Eleven Global EPR Programs (PDF)

PAC NEXT and the Product Stewardship Institute report on extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging, examines eleven programs in Canada, Europe and Australia. March 2014.

Extended Producer Responsibility Cost-Benefit Study, by the Reclay StewardEdge Consulting Team for Recycling Reinvented

Recycling Reinvented released three working papers as a study to help better understand and evaluate the possible impacts of implementing a state-level EPR system for consumer packaging and printed paper (PPP) in the U.S. The first paper, from July 2013, defined the basis of the study design. The second working paper showed that "a model system could achieve significant improvements in recycling rates at similar costs to current programs, while taking the financial burden for administration off cash-strapped local governments." In the third working paper, "when compared to other systems designed to increase recycling rates, the study demonstrates that EPR will provide similar results, for more materials, at significantly less cost to producers."

Bottled Up: Beverage Container Recycling Stagnates (2000-2010)

October 2013 report on U.S recycling rates from the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) shows sales of disposable beverage containers have increased while recycling rates have stagnated; read news coverage from Waste 360.

Evaluation of Extended Producer Responsibility for Consumer Packaging (PDF)

SAIC for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), September 2012.

In response to the GMA Packaging EPR Report's release, Ramsey County, Minnesota issued a letter disputing the report's conclusions and clarifying incorrect or incomplete statements. The Product Policy Institute, Resource Recycling, Recycling Reinvented, and Environmental Leader reported on and responded to the Report in September 2012.

Unfinished Business: The Case for Extended Producer Responsibility for Post-Consumer Packaging

As You Sow, July 2012. Findings include:

  • $11 billion of recyclable materials are wasted annually, and using this resource could generate profits and green jobs
  • Profiles of successful EPR programs in the U.S. (for beverage containers) and in Canada and Europe (for packaging)
  • A history of EPR, how it would incentivize companies to produce increasingly efficient products and revitalize stagnant U.S. recycling rates
  • An assessment of the impact wasted packaging has on carbon and ocean pollution
Overview of Stewardship and Extended Producer Responsibility Job and Economic Impact Studies (PDF)

Duncan Bury Consulting for the Western Product Stewardship Collaborative, July 2012.

Evaluation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Recycled-Content Products: California Purchasing Guidelines for Plastic Products

This case study from CalRecycle (the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery) examines greenhouse gas emissions for several types of plastic resins with recycled polymer content. May 2012.

Plastic Clamshell Container Case Study: The Potential Impacts of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in California on Global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

This case study from CalRecycle (the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery) is concerned with "the production and end-of-life management of single-use folding plastic containers" ("clamshells") commonly used to contain takeout food, and "assesses the energy and greenhouse gas implications of using different materials and end-of-life management methods for plastic clamshell containers." May 2012.

Extended Producer Responsibility Evaluation (PDF)

SAIC for the Product Management Alliance, February 2012.

Packaging and Printed Paper Stewardship Program Design Options (PDF)

Multi-Material British Columbia (MMBC, prepared by Glenda Gies and Associates), February 2012.

Current System for Managing Residential Packaging and Printed Paper in British Columbia (PDF)

Multi-Material British Columbia (MMBC, prepared by Glenda Gies and Associates), February 2012.

Closing the Loop: Road Map for Effective Material Value Recovery

GreenBlue's January 2012 report provides a detailed systems analysis of international packaging recovery systems, including successful collection, sorting, and reprocessing technologies and infrastructures, as well as the waste management policies that support or limit recycling. Focusing on several EU nations, as well as Australia, Canada, and rural recycling systems, the report identifies best practices that could be adopted within the U.S., such as:

  • A harmonized systems approach for all packaging materials, formats, and end-of-life options
  • Investment in state of the art sorting technology
  • Clear and nationally-coordinated waste policies, including extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation

The report is the culmination of GreenBlue’s three-year “Closing the Loop” research project—funded through a grant awarded by CalRecycle with additional support from GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition®. News coverage from GreenBiz.

NWPSCAnalyzing Product Stewardship Policies for Packaging and Printed Paper in Washington State (PDF)

Northwest Product Stewardship Council, 2011.

Returning to Work: Understanding the Domestic Jobs Impacts from Different Methods of Recycling Beverage Containers (PDF)

By Clarissa Morawski and Jeffrey Morris for the Container Recycling Institute, December 2011.

Final Report of the Dialogue on Sustainable Financing of Recycling of Packaging at the Municipal Level (PDF)

Report (PDF from EPA archive) from the Keystone Center for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Sept. 19, 2011.

Plastic Debris in the California Marine Ecosystem: A Summary of Current Research, Solution Strategies and Data Gaps (Chapter 5, Section 3: Smart Design and Extended Producer Responsibility).

C. Stevenson, University of Southern California Sea Grant. California Ocean Science Trust, Oakland, CA. 2011.

Waste & Opportunity: U.S. Beverage Container Recycling Scorecard and Report, 2011 (PDF)

As You Sow, 2011.

Packaging and Packaging Waste Statistics 1998 - 2008 

EUROPEN: The European Organization for Packaging and the Environment, June 2011.

Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA) 2010 Annual Report 

Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association, 2010.

Packaging Recovery Organisation Europe: Uniformity in Diversity - Producer Responsibility in Action (PDF)

PRO EUROPE, October 2010.

Understanding economic and environmental impacts of single-stream collection systems (PDF)

Container Recycling Institute, December 2009.

Products, Packaging and US Greenhouse Gas Emissions (PDF)

Joshuah Stolaroff, PhD, for the Product Policy Institute, September 2009.

An Assessment of Heavy Metals in Packaging: 2009 Update (PDF)

The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse, June 30, 2009.

Packaging & Printed Paper Program Plan (PDF)

Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba, June 22, 2009.

NWPSCWashington State Beverage Container Recycling Initiative: 2008 Report

In 2006, the Northwest Product Stewardship Council and EPA Region 10 initiated a process to explore ways to develop an incentive system to increase the collection and recycling of used beverage containers without the use of cash deposits. The effort lasted 18 months and involved 48 individuals representing 35 industry stakeholders.

The initial meeting resulted in three educational conference calls reviewing current US and Canadian beverage container recovery programs (see Presentations). In the follow-up meeting, the group agreed to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for incentive programs. Two proposals were selected for joint funding to be provided by local, state and federal governments, the Beverage Packaging Environmental Council (BPEC) of the National Recycling Coalition (an industry organization), and in-kind donations from pilot program partners.

The proposals were not funded, and in March 2008 the committee unanimously agreed to end the effort to come to a mutually agreeable solution to the problem of used beverage container recovery. The NWPSC steering committee agreed to terminate work on the project and begin exploring other options to increase the recycling of used beverage containers and other packaging materials.

Learn more about the process from the 2008 report:

Solid Waste Management Cost Flows in Washington State: A Beyond Waste Project. Project Synopsis Report (PDF)

Cascadia Consulting Group and Industrial Economics, Inc., September 2007.

Economic & Environmental Benefits of a Deposit System for Beverage Containers in the State of Washington (PDF)

Prepared by Dr. Jeffrey Morris (Sound Resource Management Group), Bill Smith (City of Tacoma), and Rick Hlavka (Green Solutions) for City of Tacoma Solid Waste Management, April 2005.