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CBA Spearheads Initiative To Reimagine America’s Recycling System

Consumer Brands Association, CBD Advisory Board

Consumer Brands Association (CBA) has launched the Recycling Leadership Council to build the American Recycling Roadmap, a public policy framework to reimagine the U.S. recycling system.

The council features a diverse group of stakeholders from consumer-facing industries, packaging companies and the recycling ecosystem. The framework will seek consistency in the recycling system and guide advocacy at the federal, state and local levels.

Led by U.S. Senate Recycling Caucus Co-chairs John Boozman, R-Arkansas, and Tom Carper, D-Delaware, the group held its first meeting on Jan. 15.  

Initial members include: the American Beverage Association, AMERIPEN, Closed Loop Partners, Consumer Technology Association, Distilled Spirits Council, Food Marketing Institute, Glass Packaging Institute, Household & Commercial Products Association, International Franchise Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Recycling Partnership and Wine Institute. 

“The United States is facing a packaging and plastic waste crisis greatly exacerbated by nearly 10,000 unique recycling systems,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of CBA. “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.”

From household and personal care to food and beverage products, the Arlington, Virginia-based CBA champions the consumer packaged goods industry.

A recent survey found that 86 percent of Americans agree the world is facing a packaging and plastic waste crisis, while 93 percent believe national recycling standards will alleviate confusion. In addition, 77 percent of Americans view recycling as a public service, not a business. 

The Recycling Leadership Council’s membership is united by the following guiding principles:

• Pursue big ideas to create modern and scalable solutions that maintain affordability, safety and reliability of consumer products.

• Seek uniformity of recycling rules and practices across the entire ecosystem.

• Identify long-term solutions that take precedence over short-term, competitive interests, with the goal of increasing sustainability and significantly reducing waste.

In the coming months, the council will hold regional roundtables across the country. These will bring together diverse stakeholders to discuss best practices in current industry action, technological innovation and public-private partnerships, as well as examine the challenges facing local recycling systems.

Each session will help the council understand what is and is not working in different regions and allow the group to identify scalable themes and policy solutions. Key findings 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 Meghan Stasz, CBA’s VP of packaging and sustainability. “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.”

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