Packaging and Plastics

In the U.S., 40% of household waste is packaging and paper products (PPP) — including plastic containers, steel and aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars, newspaper, and cardboard. Yet the recycling rate for PPP has been stagnant at about 50% for nearly two decades, an enormous missed opportunity to recover billions of dollars’ worth of valuable materials.

When it comes to plastics, only 9% are recycled. Single-use plastic packaging and products like bags, cups, straws, and cutlery — usually not recyclable in your household blue bin — end up contaminating recycling streams, overburdening landfills, and littering our fields, forests, and waterways.

The solution is product stewardship for packaging! That means working together to minimize the impacts of packaging and plastics, whether through innovative reuse and reduction projects or through extended producer responsibility laws.

Building the Restaurant Industry Back Stronger with Less Packaging and Plastic Waste
The Missouri Product Stewardship Council is working with the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) and earthday365 to reduce the St. Louis restaurant industry’s reliance on single-use items. With funding from a U.S. EPA Sustainable Materials Management grant, this project will bring together stakeholders to develop customized source reduction plans for participating businesses and expand a reusable food container program in the city.

“Reducing packaging and plastic waste before it reaches consumers is critical to protecting rivers and oceans and reducing greenhouse gas emissions — and it can also save small businesses thousands of dollars. It’s a win-win for people and the planet.”

—Sydney Harris, Policy and Programs Manager, Product Stewardship Institute

The project, which will run through September 2023, will accomplish the following:

  • Create a guide for municipalities interested in supporting restaurants in reducing waste
  • Update PSI’s restaurant waste reduction tool kit
  • Launch earthday365’s reusable takeout container program in St. Louis
  • Expand earthday365’s Green Dining Alliance program
  • Work with up to 10 St. Louis restaurants
  • Establish a statewide sustainable packaging work group through the MO PSC
  • Build capacity for packaging stewardship in Missouri

Sustainable Packaging Workgroup Meeting Notes