Edward Boisson, Senior Consultant, SAIC
Melissa Innes, Deputy Executive Director, Recycling Reinvented
Meghan Stasz, Sustainability Director, Grocery Manufacturers Association
In the U.S., local governments historically have taken lead responsibility in implementing recycling collection programs, and government and industry initiatives over more than two decades have contributed to a vast expansion of demand for traditional recyclables. Some municipalities are now pushing the boundaries of zero waste, employing innovative approaches and technologies to target remaining waste streams such as food waste, commercially generated discards and processing facility residuals.
In Europe and Canada, extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs have become the norm, covering a wide range of products, while in the U.S. a growing number of state-legislated EPR programs target hazardous or hard-to-recycle products like electronics, cell phones, pharmaceuticals and carpet. Other state level policies in the U.S., such as bottle bills, incentive payment programs and minimum content requirements, have placed varying degrees of responsibility on product manufacturers, retailers and consumers, but no comprehensive framework for government recycling policies has yet been implemented in the U.S. In this context, interest in EPR and other government policies to promote recycling is growing, and recently the debate increasingly has included the question of whether EPR could or should be adopted to cover mainline recyclables typically included in municipal curbside programs, such as packaging, newspapers and other printed materials.
Should EPR be adopted in the U.S. to cover these mainline recyclables? Given the expansive local infrastructure already in place, how could such a transition play out? How will the roles of municipalities, manufacturers, consumers and others evolve under EPR, or without EPR? How will broad market trends, including product and package redesign, impact recycling under EPR or without EPR? And what are the implications for the environmental, business and social objectives often associated with recycling? This panel discussion will highlight the viewpoints of four nationally recognized professionals with distinct experiences and perspectives on these questions. The goal will be to contrast different visions of what the future may hold, with the aim of inspiring practical solutions in the short term that advance recycling and related objectives.
After attending this session, participants will:
- Understand some of the driving market forces that will help to shape the future of recycling through the next 50 years, regardless of whether or how EPR is adopted in the U.S.
- Understand key arguments for and against extending EPR to cover mainline recyclables, and how the roles of municipalities, manufacturers and others with a stake in recycling may evolve in coming years
- Understand the implications of these different alternative visions for the critical environmental, business and social sustainability objectives related to materials recycling
Melissa is the deputy director for Recycling Reinvented, a national nonprofit working to promote extended producer responsibility for packaging and printed paper. The goal of Recycling Reinvented is to craft and pass thoughtful, effective legislation to dramatically increase recycling rates, bringing to the table business support to create a uniquely American version of EPR. Their work includes collaborating with ALL stakeholders, and learning best practices from recycling experts across the country. Melissa is a former state representative from Maine, having served on Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
As a legislator, Melissa worked on recycling and product stewardship legislation, including paint, medical sharps, pharmaceuticals, CFLs, e-waste and container laws. Melissa was the sponsor of Maine’s first-in-the-nation Product Stewardship Framework Law of 2010, as well as the sponsor of a successful e-waste program expansion in 2011 (both done with unanimous bipartisan support). She enjoys working with industry, legislators, NGO’s and consultants around the world to help advance this policy area. She has spoken to audiences across the United States, as well as Australia, Brazil and Canada. Melissa holds a B.A. in social work from the University of Southern Maine and currently is a student in Sustainable Business Management at the University of California Irvine.
Meghan works on issues such as waste, water, sourcing, energy, and other topics as they pertain to the food, beverage, and consumer products industry. Among other initiatives, Meghan is currently leading the Food Waste Reduction Alliance initiative—a three-year, collaborative, cross-industry initiative to reduce food waste sent to landfill and increase food donation to food banks in the U.S. She also is working extensively on packaging and recycling efforts. Meghan has more than 10 years of experience in the environmental sustainability field.
Prior to GMA, she spent several years with the Environmental Defense Fund where she was the project manager of the organization’s Farm and Food Policy Reform campaign. Meghan received her B.A. from Hamilton College and her M.B.A. from Boston College.
Ed is a senior consultant with SAIC Energy, Environment & Infrastructure, LLC. For more than 24 years, he has specialized in materials recycling industry development, with a focus on market and policy development to maximize environmental, social and business objectives. He has worked extensively with companies throughout the product supply chain, along with government agencies and NGOs across the United States to explore and implement innovative approaches. Ed formerly was Executive Director of the Northeast Recycling Council, and in the early 1990s he managed the policy office of the California Integrated Waste Management Board.