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averyEnvironmental responsibility is what the packaging industry needs to be focused on. Environmental awareness should be a priority but is it? While it’s true that it’s becoming more and more prevalent thanks to education but steps still need to be taken to get to where we need to be. The Florida Environmental Regulation Commission is a “seven-member board, selected by the Governor, who represent agriculture, the development industry, local government, the environmental community, citizens, and members of the scientific and technical community.” The commission is a group that, with citizens, set standard and rules to protect the Floridian environment based on facts and figures. The public is encouraged to attend these meetings, held monthly, but as of January 2014 every meeting has been cancelled.

Other factors may contribute to this seventh month long hiatus, whether it is due to a lack of interest, funds, or information, it is just another example of how the environmental wellbeing is not currently a top priority. The commission has been very successful in the past but we must all do our part to take responsibility for our natural landscape, personally and professionally.

In the packaging industry in particular, we are all actively taking steps to use the best materials, products, and practices to ensure that products are transported safely and the packaging in itself can be recycled or reused.

At Avery Packaging, our motto is “Waste Nothing” and we stand by that. Our Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) container is the next step environmentally aware, responsible packaging in the United States. EPR practices has been implemented around the world and have had incredible environmental success.

“The European Union has endorsed the concept of EPR in its directive on packaging. All its member countries, which take in most of western Europe, are adopting EPR in some form. And some eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have also joined in. The policy also is spreading to Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.” States Bette Fishbein of INFORM, Inc., a nonprofit environmental research organization.

According to the Container Recycling Institute there are three categories of “policy instruments” that can encourage product responsibility.

Regulatory Instruments: mandatory take-back; minimum recycled content standards; secondary materials utilization rate requirements; rates and dates; energy-efficiency standards; disposal bans and restrictions; materials bans and restrictions; and product bans and restrictions.

Economic Instruments: advance disposal fees; virgin materials taxes; removing subsidies for virgin materials; deposit/refund systems; and environmentally preferable products procurement.

Informative Instruments: seal-of-approval types of environmental labeling (Green Seal, Blue Angel); environmental information labeling (energy efficiency, CFC use, recycled content); product hazard warnings; product durability labeling.

So, are we as environmentally aware as we could be? Well, we are certainly on our way! In recent years, the United States has made enormous strides in environmental awareness and responsibility. Every year new rules and regulations are pushed towards a greener, more sustainable future. Look at your own personal and professional life. Are you doing what you can to be sustainable around the office and at home? Every little bit helps when it comes to Environmental Responsibility.