FPA Reflects on 2023—A Year in Review

FPA Reflects on 2023—A Year in Review

The Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) recently published its annual “Report to the Members,” which provides an overview of the many initiatives and activities FPA conducts on behalf of its members. As the voice of the flexible packaging industry for over 70 years, FPA provides a wealth of significant benefits that support the success of FPA members and the advancement of the flexible packaging industry.

The report highlights current and ongoing FPA programs that ensure the environmental benefits and sustainability advantages of flexible packaging are communicated and understood. FPA’s mission is to advocate to protect against potential barriers to growth, combat regulatory burdens, and build relationships with diverse stakeholders; promote the advantages and benefits of flexible packaging; communicate to keep members and stakeholders informed and engaged; provide industry data to the membership and investment community; and create networking and education opportunities to connect the membership. Below is a brief overview of some of FPA’s activities in 2023.


At the state level, 2023 was yet another landmark year for packaging policy. While FPA was heavily engaged in several issue areas, including labeling standards, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, and advanced recycling technologies, FPA’s highest priority remained extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation.

In 2021, Maine and Oregon became the first two states to pass EPR laws for packaging sold or distributed in their states, followed by California and Colorado in 2022. In 2023, there was a record number of 43 packaging EPR bills across 16 states, but remarkably no new state packaging EPR program passed. However, Maryland and Illinois were successful in passing legislation that should help pave the way for future EPR bills in those states. The EPR proposals introduced in Illinois (Senate Bill [SB] 1555) and Maryland (SB 222) were heavily amended, changing them from EPR programs to needs assessments and calling for comprehensive evaluation of the respective states’ current and future recycling capabilities and needs.

At the federal level, FPA continues to advocate for a national strategy to improve, advance, and increase recycling in the U.S., including a harmonized approach to package labeling for recyclability. In December 2022, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a public comment period for “Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims” referred to as “Green Guides.” FTC sought comments concerning the efficiency, costs, benefits, and regulatory implications of the Green Guides to evaluate whether to retain, modify, or rescind them. Among other things, the Green Guides establish definitions for terms and phrases like “recyclable” and “recycled content.” FPA submitted comments independently through its Environmental, Health, and Safety; Circularity; and Product Stewardship committees.

FPA continued its aggressive advocacy against additional aluminum foil duties stemming from a July 18, 2022, self-initiated aluminum foil circumvention case against Thailand and South Korea by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). In 2017, the U.S. government imposed duties on aluminum products coming from China, including aluminum foil. In 2022, DOC initiated—not at the request of the domestic industry but of its own volition—an investigation for potential additional fees on imports of aluminum foil from South Korea and Thailand based on China’s rates to these two countries, claiming the producers there are circumventing the duties in China by manufacturing in Thailand and South Korea. Unfortunately, on November 20, 2023, DOC made an erroneous final decision to impose new import duties on South Korean and Thai aluminum foil products after wrongly concluding that their producers were circumventing antidumping and countervailing duty orders on aluminum foil from the People’s Republic of China.

In 2024, FPA will keep monitoring the legislative and regulatory front and continue to advocate on behalf of the industry.

As the voice of the flexible packaging industry for over 70 years, FPA provides a wealth of significant benefits that support the success of FPA members and the advancement of the flexible packaging industry.

Industry Statistical Reports

FPA maintains industry statistics and updates reports as data changes. Dialogue with the U.S. Census Bureau, including reviewing data releases in connection with the Census Bureau’s various surveys, is ongoing. Industry information is collected from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce, Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, industry analysts, investment banking reports, economic analyst group Inforum, and other authoritative sources to provide a complete and more insightful picture of the flexible packaging industry. FPA’s data and reports enable members to benchmark their performance in the industry and gain insights to assist them in growing their businesses.

FPA published its annual report that provides a comprehensive view of the total U.S. packaging and flexible packaging segment of the industry. The annual report is a definitive source of data and information and is utilized by industry converters, suppliers, investors, and analysts. The report examines several aspects of the U.S. flexible packaging industry, including sales and utilization levels, current profit trends, capital spending plans, industry merger and acquisition activity, projected growth areas, U.S. imports and exports, and end-use application information. For the 2023 report, the U.S. flexible packaging industry was estimated to have $42.9 billion in annual sales for 2022, up from $37.2 billion in 2021, for a growth rate of 15.3%, the highest rate in at least 20 years.

Pet Food Sector

FPA partnered with PTIS, LLC to perform a streamlined life cycle assessment (LCA) and develop a report with descriptions of the key environmental indicators based on a selection of different pet product package formats currently available on the market. The pet products evaluated encompass a range of package formats, including pet food, flea collars, dog treats, and dog dental sticks.

The purpose of LCA is to use the results as an educational tool and to better understand the environmental impacts of the various package options. The packages selected represent a range of product options, comparing other packaging formats with the flexible packaging option.

For More Information

To view the full report, visit FPA at www.flexpack.org. For more information on FPA and the benefits of FPA membership, contact FPA at fpa@flexpack.org.

Dani Diehlmann is FPA vice president, communications.