Written on: January 19, 2022 by Joe Bowen
Today’s journey down the yellow brick road is laden with dangers that threaten this great industry and our own businesses. Chemicals, components and wage levels are experiencing inflationary pressures…and not small ones on a percentage basis. Many of these inflationary issues are caused by a supply chain in chaos that is also experiencing rising fuel and labor costs. Behind us, beside us and in front of us during our journey sounds the steady drum beat of the regulators driving us forward. As we endure these challenges, are we content to drone on and let the Great Oz—referring metaphorically to the collective forces and circumstances creating the challenges for our industry—continue to pull the strings behind the curtain?
The National Aerosol Association (NAA) looks at challenges as opportunities and is dedicated to the promotion and protection of the aerosol package form. It’s through this lens that means and methods to overcome challenges are viewed as we nimbly and creatively seek solutions to our members’ challenges together.
The past 24 months have been full of challenges and accomplishments for the NAA. As the flying monkeys of COVID-19 descended, the NAA hosted weekly conference calls where company leaders throughout our industry shared best practices to help each other navigate the rapid changes that came with lockdowns and safely leading essential work forces. The camaraderie and teamwork exhibited during these calls was a shining light in a dark time.
COVID-19 did not slow down regulatory efforts. The NAA worked extremely hard to achieve some if its greatest regulatory accomplishments for industry to date. It worked with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) through another round of volatile organic compound (VOC) reductions and created remarkable outcomes for CARB, the environment and the aerosol industry! As CARB contemplated VOC reductions for air fresheners, hair sprays, dry shampoos, personal fragrance products and certain insecticides, it also introduced an Innovative Product Exemption (IPE) opportunity that promoted the use of the inert gases as propellants. The NAA worked with CARB to improve some of the technical details related to the inert gas portion of its proposal and developed, authored and successfully persuaded CARB to adopt a provision to include relative reactivity in the rulemaking that helps it achieve greater VOC reductions and environmental benefits, leaves more tools available for aerosol formulators and leverages the innovation power of the consumer products industry. Rarely do all parties win in regulatory compromise.
Other ongoing work includes collaboration with regional aerosol associations to create a virtual classroom containing Aerosol 101 educational videos (classroom.mistunderstood.com). The NAA is also working with the Household & Consumer Products Association (HCPA) and regional aerosol associations on the aerosol recycling challenge and to revitalize the very important annual Aerosol Survey that reports the total aerosol units filled in the U.S. each year.
Current focus is on spearheading another successful Aerosol Summit Meeting in Nashville, TN, which will be held March 27–29. More than 200 hundred attendees are already expected, so register and reserve your hotel room soon at nationalaerosol.com.
The current challenges and opportunities facing our great industry are best tackled working together in a fast-moving organization with laser focus and great people. Roll up your sleeves, embrace the Lion’s courage, the Tin Man’s heart and the Scarecrow’s brains and join us at the NAA. The curtain is always open, and we pull the strings together.
Joe Bowen, VP, Sales & Marketing, Aeropres Corp./President, NAA
The views and opinions expressed in Guest Commentary are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Industry Publications, Inc.