The Consumer Brands Association (CBA) has launched the Recycling Leadership Council, a group of stakeholders from consumer-facing industries, packaging companies and the recycling ecosystem, with the aim of creating a public-policy framework to reimagine the U.S. recycling system.
The framework, known as the American Recycling Roadmap, will work toward consistency in the recycling system and guide advocacy at the federal, state and local levels. The group was scheduled to convene for the first time in a Jan. 15 meeting held by the Senate Recycling Caucus co-chairs, Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Tom Carper, D-Del.
Besides the CBA, initial members of the group are the American Beverage Association, AMERIPEN, Closed Loop Partners, the Consumer Technology Association, the Distilled Spirits Council, the Food Marketing Institute, the Glass Packaging Institute, the Household & Commercial Products Association, the International Franchise Association, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, The Recycling Partnership, and the Wine Institute.
“The United States is facing a packaging and plastic waste crisis greatly exacerbated by nearly 10,000 unique recycling systems,” noted Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the Arlingtom, Va.-based CBA, which on Jan. 14 officially rebranded from its earlier incarnation as the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “The lack of consistency in America’s approach to recycling creates massive consumer confusion and fails to capitalize on the extraordinary advances that have been made in recyclable packaging. It is time for a drastically different approach, and we are proud to convene these critical stakeholders to develop a sound, scalable recycling policy platform.”
The guiding principles of the council are as follows:
Advance big ideas to create modern, scalable solutions that maintain the affordability, safety and reliability of consumer products
Seek uniform recycling rules and practices across the entire ecosystem
Identify long-term solutions that take precedence over short-term, competitive interests, with the goal of boosting sustainability and considerably reducing waste
In the near future, the council will host regional roundtables across the United States, uniting stakeholders to discuss best practices in current industry action, technological innovation and public-private partnerships, as well as to tackle the challenges faced by local recycling systems. The roundtable will help the council understand what is and isn’t working in different parts of the country and enable the group to pinpoint scalable themes and policy solutions. Key findings from each roundtable will be summarized and shared publicly.
“In a circular economy, action from all stakeholders is needed to create real change — and the time for action is now,” said CBA VP of Packaging and Sustainability Meghan Stasz. “The commonality among the council’s participants is a readiness to dig deeper, think bigger and work harder, together, to find recycling solutions that will actually work for industry, consumers and the environment.”
According to a recent survey from the CBA, 86% of Americans think that the world is facing a packaging and plastic waste crisis, with 93% believing that national recycling standards will lessen confusion about recycling. Further, 77% of Americans consider recycling a public service rather than a business.