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    SPC Position Against Biodegradability Additives in Petroleum-Based Plastics

    The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) has released a formal position paper against biodegradability additives for petroleum-based plastics, which are marketed as enhancing the sustainability of plastic by rendering the material biodegradable. The SPC has evaluated the use of biodegradability additives for conventional petroleum-based plastics, and has found that these additives do not offer any sustainability advantage and they may actually result in more environmental harm.

    The position paper lists the following reasons for the stance against these additives:

    • They don’t enable compostability, which is the meaningful indicator of a material’s ability to beneficially return nutrients to the environment.

    • They are designed to compromise the durability of plastic and the additive manufacturers have not yet demonstrated an absence of adverse effects on recycling.

    • The creation of a “litter friendly” material is a step in the wrong direction, particularly when the material may undergo extensive fragmentation and generation of micro-pollution before any biodegradation occurs.

    • The biodegradation of petroleum-based plastics releases fossil carbon into the atmosphere, creating harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
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    Value of Compostable Packaging Report

    The Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s Value of Compostable Packaging Report explores how compostable packaging may enable increased food scrap diversion, building feedstock for compost manufacturers.

    In 2016, the SPC staff conducted five waste characterizations: one at a farmers market, one at a evening concert, one at a national grocery store, one at a quick service restaurant, and one at a full day festival. Using the data collected from the waste characterizations, the staff were able to analyze the quantities of both food and compostable packaging in front-of-house and back-of-house settings at each venue.

    By understanding the amount of food waste that compostable packaging can bring to a compostables bin in different settings, compost manufacturers and venues can make informed decisions that ultimately divert waste and reduce emissions.

     

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    SPC’s Centralized Availability of Recycling Study

    In 2015-2016, The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) led an industry collaborative to study the availability of recycling programs in the United States and the types of packaging accepted in those programs.

    The study’s findings on the acceptance of 49 types of packaging in recycling programs provide important substantiation data for industry to make recyclability claims in compliance with the US Federal Trade Commission’s guidance for environmental marketing claims. National acceptance rates for every packaging type studied are given in broadened figures in this report, and detailed information on acceptance rates are presented in a series of reports issued to the various project partner organizations.

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