A look at the National Packaging Protocol’s data shows the program failed to reduce post consumer packaging waste.
“Celebration is called for!” declared a Canadian packaging newsletter in reference to the National Packaging Protocol’s (NaPP) early success in diverting 51 per cent of packaging waste from disposal by 1996 — four years ahead of schedule. However, a close look at the actual NaPP data reveals there may be little cause for celebration, at least for consumers and ratepayers. The data shows that post-industrial packaging was greatly reduced via things like greater reuse of wooden pallets and other reusable containers (See sidebar, page 12). This achievement is good news for the environment and the companies that will save money. But there was little advancement in the reduction of post-consumer packaging — the ubiquitous aluminum cans, plastic containers, bags and so on that people thought were targeted. NaPP press releases didn’t draw attention to this serious shortcoming. NaPP’s obfuscation over reductions in post-industrial packaging waste versus post-consumer waste has created a dilemma for provincial and municipal governments as well as environment and consumer groups. Since NaPP supposedly “dealt with the problem,” national pressure for packaging reduction has all but disappeared.