Flexible Packaging Association Highlights Latest Advocacy Initiatives
As 2020 comes to end, an array of changes are on the horizon for the country and for businesses. In the flexible packaging industry, the change in administration, ongoing sustainability initiatives, and the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will keep converters and suppliers on their toes in a rapidly evolving environment.
In its November edition of the monthly FPA Now newsletter, the Flexible Packaging Association shared several of the advocacy efforts it has taken part in to support the industry.
The first initiative that was highlighted was a letter submitted to Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The letter from FPA President Alison Keane outlines the association’s opposition to the proposal to “add plastic manufactured items to Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.”
The letter explains that under CEPA, single-use plastics would be declared to be “toxic,” and details the important role flexible packaging plays in daily life, ranging from standard household products including food and beverage and health and beauty products, to pharmaceutical and medical device packaging that requires a safe and sterile package. Additionally, the letter advocates for a “screening level risk assessment,” which it states would not identify plastic products as toxic, but rather highlight the potential environmental harm of plastic pollution. And with the right support from governmental bodies, the letter adds that the risks of plastic pollution can be reduced.
“The Canadian federal government has an opportunity to show real and effective leadership by working collaboratively with the provinces to improve waste management systems, expand extended producer responsibility regimes and implement anti-littering public education,” Keane wrote.
Closer to home, the Flexible Packaging Association was among several industry associations that signed a Dec. 7 letter to President Elect Joe Biden on behalf of Americans For Free Trade and Farmers for Free Trade. This letter focuses on the negative impacts of the Section 301 China tariffs and Section 232 steel/aluminum tariffs, and advocates for the removal of these tariffs while developing an alternative solution to trade issues with China.
“Tariffs have increased costs for U.S. manufacturers, who rely on imported inputs and components for production at home, and for importers, whose businesses rely on finished consumer goods,” the letter states.
Similarly, the FPA also signed on in support of a Dec. 4 letter addressed to congressional leaders Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Republican Leader of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy, Majority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, and Minority Senate Leader Chuck Schumer. This letter, signed by several businesses and associations, urges the inclusion of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill in the upcoming omnibus spending package.
This letter details how the MTB temporarily eliminates border tariffs on products imported into the U.S. that do not have sufficient domestic production and availability. In 2018, the bill passed the house by a vote of 402-0, unanimously passed in the senate, and was signed by President Trump.
“Based on analyses by the National Association of Manufacturers, the MTB would eliminate import tariffs of more than $1.5 billion over the next three years, bolstering manufacturers and other businesses in the United States, especially small and medium-sized manufacturers,” the letter states.
Lastly, the FPA highlighted a press release it put out on Dec. 7 in conjunction with the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), announcing their agreement on eight legislative attributes of an extended producer responsibility bill for packaging and paper products. The release explains that the FPA and PSI conducted a year-long dialogue that included flexible packaging manufacturers, government agencies, environmental groups, and recyclers.
According to the release, the eight legislative elements cover the types of packaging included, packaging collection entities, how producers are defined, and funding for the “collection, transportation, and processing of packaging for reuse and recycling, public education, and government oversight.”
“Dialoguing with the Product Stewardship Institute, which represents the state and local governments, among others, contemplating this legislation, is a process that brings those policymakers together through one organization,” Keane said in the press release. “Other packaging supply chain organizations should be doing the same so that industry can shape legislation that provides for needed recycling infrastructure for all packaging types in the U.S.”