Earth911 Podcast: Emerald Packaging CEO Kevin Kelly on Plastic Use and Producer Duty


Plastic air pollution surged together with COVID-19 because the world’s human inhabitants raced to guard itself from the virus. We speak with Kevin Kelly, CEO of Emerald Packaging, one of many largest plastic bag makers within the nation. Kelly shares how in-store recycling packages have been curtailed by fears about spreading infections and the persevering with improve in plastic utilization in comparison with earlier years. Emerald Packaging is working to cut back its reliance on virgin plastic resins, in addition to introducing recyclable and compostable produce packaging.

Kevin Kelly, CEO of Emerald Packaging

Kelly additionally shares his private concern that American enterprise has not totally understood the risk from local weather change, which he describes as “existential” in scope. If, for instance, sea ranges rise, the implications to Emerald Packaging will likely be disastrous as a result of meals provide chains will likely be interrupted at each port, lowering the gross sales of greens and different produce and by extension produce luggage. Kelly urges enterprise leaders and shoppers to work to cut back plastic use and to recycle any plastic that should be used. We focus on the current defeat of California Senate Invoice 54, the California Round Economic system and Plastic Air pollution Discount Act, which he opposed as a result of it didn’t present funding for recycling packages. But, Kelly is supportive of the California initiative that can try to put SB 54 into regulation on the poll field since it should seemingly embrace a funding mechanism based mostly partly on prolonged producer duty necessities.

That willingness to embrace producer duty, which requires corporations to take part in accumulating and recycling what they make, is encouraging. Earth911’s Mitch Ratcliffe requested Kelly what share of an organization’s income must be allotted to recycling and received a concrete reply: 1%, which Kelly mentioned was a fast estimate. If each enterprise that makes a product that turns into waste on the finish of its helpful life have been to contribute 1% of income to help recycling packages, it will go a great distance towards revolutionizing the U.S. recycling system. If companies refuse to shoulder that duty, Kelly mentioned, they’ll ultimately be pushed out of enterprise by the implications of local weather change.

Stunning and constructive feedback from a plastic producer. You should definitely give this interview a cautious hear.

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