The International Liaison Committee (ILC) is a network of aerosol associations from around the world that meet each year to discuss the challenges and opportunities impacting the aerosol industry in their respective country/region and around the globe.
This year’s meeting was in Japan, hosted by the Aerosol Industry Association of Japan (AIAJ). While the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) represented U.S. interests, there were also attendees from the Aerosol Association of Australia, the Aerosol Association of New Zealand, the Aerosol Manufacturer’s Association (South Africa), Aerosol Promotion Council (India), British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association, China Packaging Federation, European Aerosol Federation (FEA), Latin American Aerosol Federation, Mexican Aerosol Institute and the Thai Aerosol Association to provide their perspectives. Additionally, observers from Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam were also present.
The Asian Aerosol Federation (AAF) conducted its yearly meeting in conjunction with ILC. As part of this program, AIAJ hosted an International Forum: Combining Recycling-Based Society Establishment & Technological Innovation. There was also an opportunity for international attendees to visit two factories—Toyo Aerosol Industry Co (MIE Plant) and Toyo Seikan Co., Ltd. (Shiga Plant).
Aerosol associations across the world are having this conversation with their respective members: How do we grow the aerosol industry? Typically, that conversation revolves around growing the aerosol industry at home. However, it’s important to remember that countries and regions are not siloed from each other. The aerosol industry—as is the case with other industries—exists in a globalized economy. Each country/region’s aerosol industry is dependent on various factors that are often impacted by influences outside the country or region. We need to discuss growing the aerosol industry both at home and abroad. Growing the global aerosol industry will increase the number of available opportunities, thereby benefitting everyone.
A global effort
How do we go about growing the global aerosol industry? Innovation is the obvious answer, but that’s also easier said than done. Companies face significant challenges when innovating. Not only do they need to create a new product that consumers will repeatedly purchase, but also regulations to keep up with the rate of innovation. The technology industry is a prime example of this, and innovation in the aerosol products industry is no exception.
The aerosol industry must adopt a global industry approach to regulatory design and modification. That means aligning methods and standards at the global level. That also means engaging early and often with legislators and regulators around the globe so that, as the aerosol industry harmonizes methods and standards, we do so with the knowledge of what other countries/regions require, and can accommodate those requirements at the same time. This takes us back to the question: How do we effectively go about that?
Through the ILC, the global aerosol industry can work together to achieve this both for new and existing aerosol product chemistry and technology. Where do we begin so that the global aerosol industry is both aligned and grows?
Plastic aerosol products are potentially a good place to start. It’s a new container option that members of the aerosol industry are already developing data for, like the Plastic Aerosol Research Group, LLC (PARG), an internationally-recognized consortium actively involved in the global advancement of the aerosol industry.
Plastic aerosol containers allow for new chemistry to be used in aerosol products that are not compatible in metal containers (such as hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite or various mineral acids). This opens new product categories for the aerosol products industry. Legislators and regulators have a long-standing history with metal containers, making it difficult to change their minds and regulations. Because plastic aerosol containers are new to the market, now might be the best time for the global aerosol industry to work together—and with legislators and regulators—to produce the same products for the entire globe, thus reducing the barriers to international trade.
Recycling and more
Beyond working together on the requirements for aerosol containers, recycling of aerosol products is something that we are tackling individually. It shouldn’t matter where a container is filled and where it is ultimately sold and used. The technology to recycle that aerosol container can and should all be the same. Is there a way to drive the waste disposal industry in a direction so that all aerosol products are recycled in the same manner?
HCPA has successfully worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to modify the way aerosol products are disposed of in the U.S. This will hopefully increase the recycling rate of aerosol products. This should be a goal at the global level as well.
Beyond the construction and recycling of the container, there are many other areas where we can collaborate, including the manufacturing of aerosol products (wouldn’t we all like alternative methodologies to the hot water bath test anyway?) and harmonizing the requirements to transport an aerosol product (e-commerce is a market driving force…shouldn’t an aerosol product that can ship on the ground be able to also ship in the air?).
The reality is, the global aerosol industry can align in a number of places; the plastic aerosol segment being just one option. In the end, it doesn’t matter where we begin, but that we actually do so. The ILC is a great opportunity for this collaboration to start.
The next ILC meeting will be hosted by European Aerosol Federation (FEA) at their 2020 Global Aerosol Event in Lisbon, Portugal in September. Following that, HCPA will host the 2021 ILC meeting at our Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, FL in December 2021.
No matter where in the world you are, the aerosol industry wants the same thing: for consumers and workers to have safe, effective aerosol products that benefit their daily lives. By designing and manufacturing safe and effective aerosol products, the aerosol industry will continue to grow and thrive.
If you would like more information about the ILC or global aerosol collaborations, please contact me at [email protected]. SPRAY