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Completed Projects

2018

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2007

  • Toxics in Packaging Laws: A Tool to Promote Source Reduction and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing - Grant
  • Toxics in Packaging Laws: A Tool to Promote Source Reduction and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing - Grant

    Nineteen US states have toxics in packaging laws that prohibit the intentional introduction of four heavy metals — mercury, lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium — into packaging and packaging components sold or distributed in the state. While the laws have been in force in most of the 19 states for 10 years or more, there is increasing evidence of non-compliance. Before the start of this project, in August 2005, there had been no comprehensive test program to determine whether companies were in compliance with the toxic in packaging laws.

    This project assessed compliance with the toxics in packaging laws launched a source reduction and environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) educational campaign based on the legal requirements of the laws. The project had three specific objectives:

    • Compliance Assessment. The project tested packaging in the retail market to assess compliance with the toxics in packaging laws. The test program utilized a NITON Portable X-Ray Florescence (XRF) Analyzer to screen packaging and individual packaging components for the total concentration of the four restricted heavy metals.
      Packaging was selected for testing in two ways: randomly from among the variety of packaging materials and products in the marketplace; and targeted based on previously reported or alleged violations or characteristics that may increase the likelihood of non-compliance (such as product type, material type, ink colors, manufacturing location).
    • Source Reduction Outreach for Non-Compliant Packaging. Companies selling products in non-compliant packaging were notified of the test results and requirements of the toxics in packaging laws. The legal requirements were the driver to get companies to reduce or eliminate the toxic heavy metals from their packaging and remove any non-compliant packaging from retail shelves, or face state enforcement action.
    • Environmental Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Outreach to Supply Chain. The project also developed and executed an education and outreach campaign on source reduction in packaging and EPP purchasing focused on the legal requirements of the toxics in packaging laws. The goal of the EPP campaign was to get the supply chain, including customers, to incorporate the requirements of the toxics in packaging laws into their purchasing specifications.

    The project started in August 2005 and was completed in June 2007. Go to the Toxics in Packaging Clearing House website to view the full report, An Assessment of Heavy Metals in Packaging: Screening Results Using A Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Analyzer.

  • USDA Solid Waste Management Grants - Several

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