Representatives from businesses throughout the world may have individual interests, but at the Sustainable Packaging Forum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last month, they all agreed on one thing: recycling needs to be less politically driven and more focused on market demands and innovation.
Michael Washburn of Nestlé Waters, believes that extended producer responsibility is the best way to solve the social, environmental and economic challenges associated with waste recycling materials.
Nestlé, one of the largest beverage companies in the United States, used twenty billion PET bottles in 2011 – and the company wants them back to recycle and manufacture into new bottles. However, getting the material back isn’t solely up to them – waste disposal and recycling is part of the larger social and governmental function. Washburn believes that market-driven waste recycling would produce better results and increase the volume of returned material as more power is put directly into the hands (and wallets) of the consumer.
Nestlé, and other industry representatives aren’t advocating removing local and state governments from trash and recycling efforts, but believe industry is better equipped to develop and implement innovative recycling ideas as it directly impacts their bottom-line.
Attendees at the conference agreed that the situation isn’t all bad. Recent waste management statistics show that landfill use is down and the use of recycled packaging is increasing. However, more work must be done to maximize recovery and gain access to recycled materials to further reduce packaging waste.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Whether you own a small, mid-sized, or large business, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you are properly managing your waste disposal and waste recycling. When you do what’s right, you’ll be saving the environment, saving money, and reducing the risk of government legislation!