Producer Waste Responsibilities: If You Ship, You May Have to Collect it

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The recent conference of mayors held in New York has begun to shed light on the direction that municipalities want to take in the handling of waste recovery programs. The mayors, citing financial difficulties in most cities of any reasonable size, are looking to manufacturers to be responsible for the recovery and recycling of the packaging they use to ship their product. It is a movement that started in Europe and has become entrenched in California and the Northeast and will no doubt move through the rest of the country. The main principle of the proposed resolution is to hold the manufacturer of any product responsible for the collection, processing, and recycling of all materials they use for packaging the final product.

The shifting of the costs to recycle packaging to the manufacturer and away from the municipality is intended to encourage producers to develop and deploy more easily recyclable packaging for their products.

It could be a huge burden on a company who uses certain foams and plastics in their packaging. The infrastructure to collect materials alone would be a financial hardship on any company. If the cities utilize their current processes to collect materials, they will likely institute huge tax penalties to offset the cost of their entire recycling program. It would make the development of recyclable packaging critical to all manufacturing companies.