USCC And BPI Issue Joint Guidance On Compostable Products And Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Programs
Formal strategic partnership will guide extensive collaboration between the two organizations.
June 13, 2022 – The US Composting Council (USCC) and the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) today released joint guidance on how best to address compostable products in Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs for packaging, part of a new Board approved strategic partnership designed to guide the extensive collaboration that exists between the two organizations. Collaboration on principles for EPR and the work of a joint task force have already contributed to the passing of a first of its kind EPR bill in Colorado that contains provisions specific to composting.
Food is consistently the top material landfilled each year, with the majority of the 4,000+ compost facilities in the US set up to process only yard trimmings. As communities and businesses look to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they are establishing programs to collect food scraps for composting, requiring infrastructure to change and expand. USCC and BPI support a variety of funding mechanisms to help cover the costs of collecting and processing compostable products associated with food scraps, including EPR programs that collect fees from the sales of compostable products.
“We need solutions that reward participation and incentivize investment,” said Rhodes Yepsen, Executive Director of BPI. “Designed well, EPR programs provide a unique opportunity for certified compostable product manufacturers to support the cost of processing their products in food scraps programs. While EPR is not a silver bullet, we’re excited by the potential for these programs to bring together stakeholders and initiate solutions we’ve long needed.”
In their joint guidance document, USCC and BPI lay out specific recommendations for EPR programs that include: specifying how fees should be allocated, defining what products and materials should be included, ensuring representation in Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs) and advisory councils, exempting compostables from PCR requirements, establishing compatibility with existing food scrap collection goals, and specific eco-modulation guidance. EPR fees should not, however, be considered the only means of funding a national network for food scrap composting, which would need to be addressed through grants/loans and voluntary funding mechanisms.
USCC and BPI also announced today that their respective Boards have approved parameters for a formal strategic partnership to build on the considerable collaboration that already exists between the two groups. Shared organizational objectives include: increased diversion of food scrap from landfills to composting facilities, reduced greenhouse gas production , reduced contamination from food scrap feedstocks to composting facilities, and improved soil health through the use of compost. One of the items specifically called out in the agreement is a joint committee to develop a model bill for the labeling and identification of compostable products and packaging.
“USCC and BPI have a long history of working closely together,” said Frank Franciosi, Executive Director of USCC. “Our joint efforts as part of the US Composting Infrastructure Council (USCIC) helped build support for the COMPOST Act and the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act, the first pieces of federal legislation to specifically address composting infrastructure. Having a more formal framework for collaboration gives us the structure we need to increase the effectiveness of the work we do together.”
About the US Composting Council
The US Composting Council is dedicated to the development, expansion and promotion of the compost manufacturing industry. The USCC meets this mission by encouraging, supporting and performing compost-related research, promoting best management practices, establishing standards, educating professionals and the public about the benefits of compost and compost utilization, enhancing compost product quality, and developing training materials for compost manufacturers and markets for compost products. USCC members include compost manufacturers, marketers, equipment manufacturers, product suppliers, academic institutions, public agencies, nonprofit groups and consulting/engineering firms.
The USCC is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization and is affiliated with the Compost Research & Education Foundation (CREF), a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation that promotes public and private compost research and education activities.
The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) is the leading authority on compostable products and packaging in North America. All products certified by BPI meet ASTM standards for compostability, are subject to eligibility criteria around the connection to food scraps and yard trimmings, meet limits for total fluorine (PFAS), and must display the BPI Certification Mark. BPI’s certification program operates in conjunction with education and advocacy efforts designed to help keep food scraps and other organics out of landfills. www.bpiword.org