Now that the Biden/Harris Administration is in place and the 117th Congress officially underway, the Flexible Packaging Association is working to support several important legislative priorities. Alison Keane, FPA President and CEO, reached out to the new administration early in the transition to communicate the association’s desire to work with the Biden team on legislative priorities in the areas of economic recovery and sustainability.
Flexible packaging employees played a critical role during the pandemic and will continue to be vital to the industry as our nation and economy recover. Our manufacturing employees stepped up while our nation was in crisis and ensured that flexible packaging for food, health and hygiene, and medical equipment remained sterile and available to the public.
The Biden/Harris team pledged to first focus efforts on economic recovery in the United States. As part of these efforts, FPA encouraged the administration to review existing trade policies and how they have negatively impacted many industries such as ours. The current Section 232 aluminum tariffs—in particular—have hit our industry hard. Aluminum foil is used for packaging, as it provides the barrier protection needed from oxygen, light, moisture, and bacteria that food, health and hygiene, and medical supply packaging needs to ensure stable shelf life, freshness, and sterility. While FPA supports efforts to protect domestic manufacturing and ensure national security, the aluminum foil used by the flexible packaging industry is not manufactured in the U.S. in the quantities and qualities needed. As such, FPA requests that these tariffs be suspended in their entirety. This action would immediately free up billions of dollars of working capital for American companies, sustaining and creating thousands of jobs in the U.S., and would provide relief to manufacturers that have no choice but to import these products to continue to provide for the public demand during this time of national crisis.
Circular Economy/Plastics Recycling Infrastructure
FPA is also encouraged by the Biden Administration’s commitment to building a more resilient, sustainable economy and the association recommended that one way to do so is to develop a national strategy to improve, advance, and increase recycling in the U.S. The benefits of flexible packaging to a circular economy are significant, but flexible packaging has limited end-of-life management options and end markets for recycled material. Flexible packaging creates a smaller environmental footprint when compared to alternative packaging types, considering all impacts throughout a package’s life cycle. Flexible packaging also requires less energy to manufacture and transport, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and use of fossil fuel. Additionally, flexible packaging uses less water in manufacturing and has a high product-to-package ratio.
As the administration and the 117th Congress work together to develop a transportation and infrastructure package, FPA continues to urge them to prioritize the investment of federal funding—including funding for research and development—in advanced recycling and recovery infrastructure. Flexible packaging manufacturers stand ready to do their part and support efforts to develop a true circular life for our products.