The global packaging market is valued at an estimated $500 billion. Consumer packaging involves a wide variety of materials such as plastic, glass, paper and board, metal and other material types. According to reports from the World Packaging Organization, paper and board packaging has accounted for the largest share of global consumer packaging at approximately 38 percent of the market, followed by plastics with a 30 percent share (18 percent rigid plastics and 12 percent flexible plastics), metal with an 18 percent share, glass with a 7 percent share and other types with a 6 percent share.
The manufacturing and disposal of consumer packing materials consumes valuable natural resources. As the world population increases and more products are distributed on a global basis, companies around the world must find ways to balance the demand for proper packaging materials against the need to conserve natural resources and protect the environment. Environmental sustainability in the packaging industry is a critical issue. Organizations around the world are looking for newer and better ways to reduce waste by reusing, renewing, reducing and recycling packaging materials.
Environmental Issues Impacting the Industry
Consumer product packaging and shipping packing are under increasing scrutiny as regulatory bodies seek to reduce waste and encourage innovation. Governments pressure industry to develop new methods to promote and maintain product safety while minimizing the impact on the environment.
California’s Rigid Plastic Packaging Container (RPPC) Program seeks to reduce plastic waste and increase the use of recycled post-consumer plastic. The RPPC Act requires manufacturers that sell products in rigid plastic packaging to meet certain statutory compliance options. Product manufacturers who fail to comply with the Act’s requirements can be assessed fines and penalties under the RPPC program.
In addition to regulations aimed at reducing waste, companies must comply with multiple federal and state laws. The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) sets forth specific labeling requirements for “consumer commodities” consumed or expended in households. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (administered by the FDA) establishes labeling requirements for food, beverages, drugs and cosmetics. Additionally, many states have developed specific labeling and warning requirements for products. California’s Proposition 65 requires clear warning labels on products containing certain “listed substances” known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.
Non-government organizations (NGOs) target companies for not using recycled materials and/or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper in packaging materials. No government agency mandates this practice. However, adding FSC certified or recycled material to packaging can add brand value and prevent losses from attacks by NGOs. Our attorneys help Fortune 100 companies prepare procurement plans to ensure materials are FSC certified and/or from recycled material.
Providing Strategic Advice to the Packaging Industry
Bick Law delivers strategic guidance to industry clients facing complex environmental issues and challenges. Each California environmental regulatory lawyer at our firm has extensive experience helping businesses comply with requirements in California and other states across the nation.
Our firm recognizes that government enforcement activities and litigation can be highly disruptive for companies in the industry. We work with clients to develop environmental plans that identify and address potential issues before they turn into costly legal problems and disputes. When a matter cannot be effectively resolved outside of the litigation process, our attorneys defend companies against government enforcement actions and other private actions in state and federal court.