In January 2015, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and As You Sow, a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental and corporate social responsibility, released Waste and Opportunity 2015: Environmental Progress and Challenges in Food, Beverage, and Consumer Goods Packaging. The report is based on a survey of 47 companies in the quick service restaurants (QSR), beverages and consumer goods/grocery sectors. The survey asked for information about policies and practices related to packaging materials use, source reduction, recyclability and compostability, recycled content and recycling. Companies were then grouped into one of four categories: “Best Practices”, “Better Practices”, “Needs Improvement” and “Poor”.
Containers and packaging make up 30% of the U.S. Municipal Solid Waste Stream, of which only 51% is recovered for recycling. The estimated value of discarded packaging in the U.S. is $11.4 billion annually. In Massachusetts, packaging material like glass, plastic and metal/aluminum bottles and cans, as well as recyclable paper and paperboard, are banned from disposal in the landfill as part of the Massachusetts Waste Bans. To learn about all banned materials click here, and to find a hauler or processor for recyclables in your area, click here.