Target: Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner of Sanitation of New York City
Goal: Make manufacturers responsible for collection and recycling of the packaging for their products.
Manufacturers could be made responsible for recycling their own packaging products through extended producer responsibility laws, which have been enforced in several countries across Europe. In the United States, our recycling programs are placed into the hands of our government, which is made responsible for the collection and processing of recyclable materials. Even though the average American has an idea of what can and cannot be recycled, rarely do they consider the extent of different materials they are recycling, which all need to be treated differently.
Some of the positive results of the extended producer responsibility laws include increased awareness of manufacturers about the quantity and quality of their packaging. When manufacturers themselves are required to fund governmental recycling collections in order to reclaim their packaging products, or are required to retrieve packaging products from the consumers or a convenient drop-off spot, those manufacturers develop functional and reusable packaging that results in ease of collection and reuse. Furthermore, the manufacturers are driven to think economically about their packaging, which lead to technological advancements in packaging that is easier to recycle and methods that simplify the process.
The mixing of recyclable materials is also an issue for governmental recycling programs. Each material needs to be recycled by a different process, and sorting out even different plastics requires time. If manufacturers were responsible for their own packaging, they would have the capacity to streamline their recycling systems to an efficiency the government is not capable of.
Sign the petition below to demand that the U.S. Department of Sanitation requires manufacturers to be responsible for recycling the packaging around their own products. The responsibility of protecting the environment needs to be distributed evenly, not just placed in the hands of the government.
Dear Commissioner Garcia,
Across Europe, Australia, and Japan, there are strict extended producer responsibility laws that require manufacturers to be responsible for the collection and recycling of the packaging they use for their products. One of the reasons for this is to make manufacturers responsible for the recycling of the waste they produce. Another reason is to diminish the quantity of frivolous non-reusable packaging that manufacturers use.
One of the greatest results seen across Europe, however, is the fact that the government is no longer responsible for the recycling of the people. The process of recycling can be improved upon by technological advancements better funded by a business than a government. Furthermore, businesses would be better served to recycle their particular packaging products than making a government responsible for recycling every type of recyclable material as a mix–the separation of which is often an unproductive drain on human resources.
I am urging you to pass extended producer responsibility laws. Please take actions to enforce policies that make manufacturers responsible for recycling their own packaging instead of making it the government’s responsibility.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tomasz Sienicki