Helping companies make sense of regulatory patchwork
PACK YOUR BAGS: Environmental Packaging International Project Manager Lauren Melucci says that there are currently more than 100 municipal plastic-bag bans throughout the country. She says that number could grow.
Public concern about the quantity of plastic packaging thrown away in the United States has been growing for years. In Rhode Island, plastic shopping bags have become the most recent packaging flashpoint, with a bag ban recently approved in Barrington and a proposal in the General Assembly for a statewide ban. Environmental Packaging International in Jamestown has carved out a consulting niche tracking different packaging rules and advising firms around the world how to comply with them. Firm Project Manager Lauren Melucci specializes in plastic-shopping-bag rules and discusses where Rhode Island’s fits in nationally and internationally.
PBN: A number of municipalities have banned plastic shopping bags at checkout, but have any states passed something similar?
MELUCCI: No, not yet. The only plastic-bag-related laws are only to require stores of a certain size to put in recycling receptacles. Just a few states have passed those – Rhode Island, New York, California. But to the particular bill that Rhode Island is looking at now to ban bags, no state has passed such a ban yet.
PBN: Has anyone gotten close?
MELUCCI: There have been many proposals in New York, New Jersey, California, Connecticut and Hawaii, but in light of them not moving forward, it has forced the municipalities to move forward with their own measures. For example, in Hawaii, there are four counties in the state and each one has passed their own version of a bag ban. So in Hawaii, even though there isn’t a statewide ban, there is a de-facto ban. In California there are a lot of communities taking it into their own hands.
PBN: Who are Environmental Packaging International clients and what does the firm do for them?