My three-year-old niece has a fascination with recycling and recycling trucks. Not garbage trucks, because those are stinky; no, she loves the green recycling trucks that come down the street once a week. According to my other friends with young children, this is common, which leads me to believe that Generation Alpha cannot get enough of trips to waste sorting facilities, recycling trucks and can collection machines.
I’m not sure where this interest comes from, but I think we can all agree that educating our youth about the importance of recycling is important. However, what should we teach them? There are still many questionsi about what products and materials we should recycle and how. Should consumers bag their recyclables? Can grocery bags and plastic wrappers be recycled? How are materials sorted after a consumer puts them in their curbside program? Furthermore, as my niece regularly asks, when do the magical green trucks come?
Plastics have become the “poster child” for confusing recycling rules. Many people think a plastic is recyclable when they see the chasing arrows symbol (accompanied by a number) on the packaging, but that number is actually used to identify the type of resin plastic, which makes it easier to sort out materials to be recycled. Therein lies the problem.
In an attempt to provide clarification, California passed SB-343, Environmental Advertising: Recycling Symbol: Recyclability: Products & Packaging.ii Other efforts to address confusion related to recycling are underway, but accordingiii to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), only an estimated 9% of all plastics have been recycled. That means there’s still work to be done. The UNEP has established an Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) that is responsible for developing a plastics treaty. However, to do this effectively, it’s essential to understand the technology involved in recycling plastic products, packaging and material.
There are two main processes for recycling plastics that work in tandem—mechanical recycling and advanced (or chemical) recycling. Mechanical recycling breaks up plastic material, either by crushing, grinding or some other physical means to break down the material, which is then remelted into granules that can be used to create new products. Mechanical recycling is more common than advanced recycling because it’s what our current infrastructure is set up to handle. It is important to note that, for mechanical recycling, materials must first be sorted because it requires an uncontaminated waste stream and can only handle certain types of plastic. Mechanical recycling cannot be used on multilayer plastics because the process weakens the strength of the plastic, limiting the number of applications the recycled resin can create.
Advanced recycling is a newer technology for recycling plastics and is actually multiple technologies, such as enzymatic hydrolysis, methanolysis and glycolysis. These processes are used to break down plastic waste, which can then be used as a feedstock to manufacture new products by breaking down the polymer chains into monomers that can be used again to build new polymers. This process can remove contamination and produce chemicals with the same quality and physical properties as virgin material. Advanced recycling is more energy intensive than mechanical recycling and should be used as a complementary technology and not as a substitute, but it’s betteriv than virgin plastic production and can divert plastic that is unsuitable for mechanical recycling from incineration, landfills or the environment. Advanced recycling is currently limited in scale, but several companies in the European Union and the U.S. have made significant investments in this technology to develop and scale it for the future.
Our society has a diverse range of plastic materials and packaging, and it isn’t practical to think one single solution can manage all of that material. Public policy should encourage the development and advancement of new technologies to help recycling streams become more efficient and effective. Through these technological advances, we can produce more recycled resin to meet the needs of consumers and workers who depend on plastic.
Education on how to properly recycle is just as important as achieving these technological advances. Recycling correctly and minimizing contamination are essential to ensuring that plastic and other materials can be recycled into new products. The goal is to build a solid foundation for recycling so that future generations, whether that’s my niece’s generation or the generations that will come after, can focus on other issues rather than continue to address the shortfalls of turning our garbage into the products of the future.
For further information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. SPRAY
iv City College of New York. “Advanced plastics recycling yields climate benefits.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2022.
An aerosol product is used to deliver a wide variety of products, which means they are subject to a number of government laws and regulations. The aerosol industry constantly strives to create new products that improve the daily lives of consumers and workers while still complying with existing laws and regulations. Unfortunately, regulations can sometimes stifle the industry’s ability to innovate and bring new products to market. People typically associate regulations with government agencies such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); however, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline & Hazardous Safety Administration (PHMSA) has also promulgated certain requirements for aerosol products.
PHMSA is responsible for developing and enforcing the regulations that ensure the safe transport of hazardous materials and products. Aerosol productsi are always subject to PHMSA’s requirements due to their pressurized natureii and can be assigned subsidiary hazards depending on the formulation. For this reason, an aerosol containeriii needs to meet rigorous material, design, construction, manufacturing and pressure testing requirements, and the shipping of aerosol products has additional requirements.
There are certain situations in which a company’s manufacturing process or product does not align with PHMSA’s regulations, including shipping a gas-only aerosol product, shipping an aerosol product in a container that doesn’t meet the wall thickness requirement, or utilizing an alternative technology to replace the water bath test. In these (and other) circumstances, a company can obtain a special permit from PHMSA that allows companies to still ship hazardous materials.iv
To receive a special permit, an application must be submitted at least 120 days before the requested effective date, provide a detailed descriptionv of the proposal and justify that the proposal is at least as protective as the regulations or show an analysis that shipping is safe if a certain scenario is not addressed by existing regulations.
While the timeline of PHMSA’s review of a special permit application will vary, it will ultimately either issue or deny the proposal a special permit. If it’s denied, the applicant can petition for reconsideration within 20 days of receipt of the decision and provide additional information needed to support the request.
When a special permit is granted, a company using the special permit must meet specific requirements documented within, such as special markings, providing additional documentation and training. When first issued, a special permit will not be effective for more than two years. Applicationsvi for renewing a special permit must be submitted at least 60 days prior to expiration and may be renewed for successive periods, but not more than four years. If a renewal does not occur, a company must reapply for a new special permit.
Federal hazardous materials transportation law requiresvii PHMSA to publish a notice in the Federal Register that an application for a new special permit or a modification to an existing special permit has been filed (though no confidential information is released) and gives the public an opportunity to inspect the safety analysis and provide comment. PHMSA also maintains an online toolviii that allows the public to search for special permits by number, company name or State.
While transporting aerosol products in the U.S. is highly regulated, the special permit process allows companies to deliver new and more sustainable products to the public more quickly and with an equivalent level of safety than the standard rulemaking process.
For more information on shipping aerosol products in the U.S., please contact me at email@example.com. SPRAY
i As defined by the 49 CFR § 171.8
ii Aerosols are categorized in accordance with the 49 CFR § 173.115(l)
iii For example, the requirements for a 2P container can be found at the 49 CFR § 178.33
iv 49 CFR Part 107 Subpart B
v Requirements for the description can be found at 49 CFR § 107.105
vi Regulations pertaining to an application renewal are found in the 49 CFR § 107.109
vii 49 USC 5117(b)
My early childhood education occurred in the 1990s, which meant I sat through a number of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) classes. The D.A.R.E. program taught children how to resist the peer pressure of smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and taking drugs. However, now that I’m an adult, I’ve realized that inhalant abuse was rarely, if ever, mentioned—and it should have received more attention.
Inhalant abuse is the deliberate inhalation of common products, such as glue, nail polish remover, felt-tip pens and certain aerosol products, with the intention of getting high. Inhalant abusers use products that provide a quick “high” with rapid dissipation and minimal “hangover” symptoms.i
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly 21.7 million U.S. residents aged 12 and older have used inhalants at least once in their lives, and recent surveys show that 13.1% of eighth graders have used inhalants.ii According to the American Addiction Centers,iii inhalant abuse usually begins before tobacco, alcohol, marijuana or other substance abuse, which couldiv be because inhalants are legal to obtain and easy to acquire.
While there are a number of products that are abused as inhalants more often than aerosols,v the aerosol industry takes this problem very seriously, which has led to a voluntary warning on aerosol product labels about the potential dangers of intentionally misusing these products. Further, aerosol companies have implemented product stewardship efforts and many retailers will lock up products that are commonly abused.
The Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) also worked with aerosol member companies to create the Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE), a foundation aimed at addressing inhalant abuse through awareness and education. Inhalant abuse cases decreasedvi between the early 1990s and late 2000s; however, recent informationvii suggests they may be back on the rise.
In April 2021, Families United Against Inhalant Abuse (FUAIA) submitted a petitionviii to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to initiate a rulemaking to adopt a mandatory standard “to address the hazards associated with aerosol ‘duster’ products containing the chemical 1,1-difluoroethane, or any derivative thereof.” The petition asked CPSC to mandate a performance standard requiring manufacturers to add a bitterant agent (other than denatonium benzoate) to all aerosol duster products, as well as a warning statement that the product could kill the user if s/he breathes it. HCPA and other industry stakeholders submitted commentsix to CPSC opposing this petition, citing technical challenges with the proposed bitterant standard and inappropriate labeling, similar to that on cigarettes, which could actually encourage abuse.
In July 2022, CPSC publishedx a briefing package regarding the petition that recommended deferring the petition. While CPSC staff opposed the requests within the petition, it wanted to research other potential solutions that could reduce the intentional abuse of the aerosol duster product category.
With this intent, CPSC asked ASTM International to look into creating a new voluntary standard to minimize the risk of intentional misuse and abuse of aerosol duster products. ASTM held an exploratory call with various stakeholders—including CPSC staff, consumer advocates, behavioral scientists and industry representatives—to discuss potential options, such as enhanced labeling, consumer education, use of aversive agents and product delivery modification to reduce the likelihood of abuse.
Achieving a consensus when developing a voluntary standard is not an easy task, but it’s essential for industry to be a part of these conversations—especially in this case, because inhalant abuse is a behavioral problem. A standard should not deter the appropriate use of a product, nor should the standard draw attention to the fact that the product can be abused (in the instance of including an overly exaggerated warning label).
Any product can pose a hazard when it’s intentionally misused. Industry can’t solve this problem alone, but it can play a role, alongside other stakeholders, to educate the public about the dangers of intentionally misusing or abusing products. To learn more about what you can do to help, I D.A.R.E. you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. SPRAY
i Williams, J.F., & Storck, M. (2007). Inhalant abuse. Pediatrics, 119(5), 1009–1017.
ii NIDA. 2020, May 28. Letter from the Director. Retrieved from here
iii American Addition Centers Editorial Staff. 2021, July 9. The Dangers of Inhalant Abuse. Retrieved from here
iv Kurtzman, T.L., Otsuka, K.N., & Wahl, R.A. (2001). Inhalant abuse by adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 28(3), 170–180.
v Based on the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA), Center for Behavioral Health Statistics & Quality, National Survey on Drug Use & Health, 2013–2021.
vi Halliburton, A.E., & Bray, B.C. (2016). Long-term prevalence and demographic trends in U.S. adolescent inhalant use: Implications for clinicians and prevention scientists. Substance Use & Misuse, 51(3), 343–356.
vii Forrester, M.B. (2020). Computer & electronic duster spray inhalation (huffing) injuries managed at emergency departments. The American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse, 46(2), 180–183.
viii FUAIA’s petition is available here
ix HCPA’s letter is available here
x CPSC’s briefing package is available here
There’s been a significant spotlight placed on packaging waste over the last few years. Government and other stakeholders have introduced legislation and regulations that require companies to make significant changes to their packaging, especially related to sustainability and cost. However, some of these changes have sparked concerns about formulation compatibility, labeling and transportation.
One of the key indicators of a product’s sustainability profile is whether its packaging is reduced, reused or recycled. Most products are designed to be recycled, but that doesn’t mean they are accepted in all collection and sortation processes—or even that there’s an end market for the material once it’s been processed.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws have received significant attention in the U.S., as more States use EPR as a policy tool to manage and reduce the amount of consumer waste by placing the bulk of this responsibility on the producers. Post-consumer recycled (PCR) content laws, whether as stand-alone legislation or combined with EPR, are also being utilized to aggressively create and drive markets for recycled materials.
One area that will start to receive more attention in the not-too-distant future is the handling and disposal of leftover products. In the household and commercial products industry, products are designed to be used until there is nothing left. However, we’ve all disposed of a product before it’s completely empty, so what is the average consumer supposed to do?
In commercial, institutional and industrial settings, leftover product could be hazardous due to certain properties that make it dangerous to human health or the environment. Under the Resource Conversation & Recovery Act (RCRA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed regulations for the management of hazardous waste based on whether the discarded material exhibits one or more of the following characteristic properties: ignitabilityi , corrosivityii , reactivityiii or toxicityiv. The EPA also maintains four lists of waste—Fv, Kvi , Pvii and Uviii —that are hazardous based on common manufacturing and industrial processes.
For certain commercial hazardous wastes, the EPA has developed universal waste regulations that ease the burden on the regulated community and encourage the development of municipal and commercial programs that reduce the quantity of waste going into local landfills or combustors. Aerosol cans were addedix to the list of universal waste in 2020, and to date, 35 U.S. States and the District of Columbia have added aerosol cans to their universal waste programs. The Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) continues to advocate that other States do the same, and we expect more rulemakings in the next couple of years.
However, this is different for leftover waste generated by consumers. Under RCRA, household hazardous waste (HHW) is exempt, in part because there’s no practical way for the EPA to regulate every household as a waste generator. Even so, it’s critical that HHW is properly managed, not just for the safety of the user, but for the safety of those that collect and handle recyclable material or waste going to the landfill. For instance, in 2022, material recovery facilities (MRFs) reportedxmore fires than any previous year—and that doesn’t include what else these workers may be exposed to.
Many communities have HHW collection programs throughout the year and some even have permanent drop-off programs, allowing consumers to properly dispose of their HHW. However, there are a few challenges with these programs. Like recycling programs, HHW programs vary community by community, having different sets of collection requirements and management rules. This causes confusion among consumers and usually results in them just taking the easy route and throwing the product in the trash.
Many of these programs are also facing financial challenges because they are costly to manage. As a result, the number of collection days could decrease or consumers could have to travel further to dispose of their HHW. In order to be effective, an HHW must have a consistent collection schedule, standardized requirements and rules that are accessible and understandable.
The Vermont legislature is exploring an HHW proposal to address funding shortfalls identified by local solid waste districts. The proposal is modeled on a construct championed by the Product Stewardship Institute wherein Industry would be responsible for fully funding HHW, but it would be controlled by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. The HCPA and allied trades are negotiating potential solutions to the funding shortfalls. The industry can expect HHW measures to be introduced in legislatures across the U.S.
The safe use and disposal of consumer and commercial products is of the utmost importance. To stay up-to-date on all legislative and regulatory activities around recycling and HHW, please contact me at email@example.com. SPRAY
i 40 CFR 261.21
ii 40 CFR 261.22
iii 40 CFR 261.23
vi 40 CFR 261.24
v 40 CFR 261.31
vi 40 CFR 261.32
vii 40 CFR 261.33
viii 40 CFR 261.34
x Fogelman, Ryan. 2022 Officially the Worst Year for Waste & Recycling Facility Fires. Dec. 5, 2022. link
The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) U.S Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims Green Guides (Green Guides)i provide guidance to manufacturers and marketers on what environmental claims can be made on a product. During my time working in the aerosol industry, I was told a handful of times that I was preventing sales by not including a certain claim on a product. On many of these occasions, I was trying to minimize potential liability with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and volatile organic compound (VOC) regulations. For example, don’t call a product a cleaner if it doesn’t actually clean. Other times, I wasn’t comfortable with how marketers stretched data to make certain claims.
Two-thirds of U.S consumers sayii that they want to buy from environmentally friendly companies, that they are willing to pay more for sustainable products and that they use labels or third-party certifications on product packaging to determine if a product is environmentally friendly. This narrative is reflected in purchasing data.iii Products that are advertised as sustainable have higher market share than other products, despite a significant price premium. Unfortunately, it’s become more difficult to distinguish between substantiated sustainability claims and Greenwashing, which are products that are promoted as sustainable but fail to meet certain standards. In the U.S., the FTC is responsible for protecting consumers from misinformation, such as Greenwashing, and taking action against companies that make deceptive environmental claims.
The Green Guides were first published in 1992 and last updated in 2012. They are not enforceable, but instead provide illustrative examples of how consumers might interpret particular claims and how marketers can substantiate these claims to avoid deceiving consumers.
On Dec. 20, 2022, the FTC publishediv a notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comments on potential updates to the Green Guides. In addition to general issues, such as whether the Green Guides are still needed, there are several environmental claims that the FTC is requesting feedback on consumer perception. The Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) will submit comments on behalf of the entire household and commercial products supply chain; however, there are a couple of areas that I want to bring to the attention of the aerosol industry.
The Green Guides include a section concerning “recyclable” claims.v Currently, manufacturers and marketers can make a recyclable claim if a substantial majority of consumers and communities have the ability to recycle a product after use. This is critical for the aerosol industry because the FTC currently defines “substantial majority” as 60%. As part of the notice, the FTC is soliciting feedback from stakeholders as to whether the 60% threshold should be modified. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) publishedvi an updated study in 2021 that found that the recycling access rate had dropped to 62% for aluminum aerosol containers and 61% for steel aerosol containers. If the FTC increases the “substantial majority” percentage, it will be essential for the Aerosol Recycling Initiativevii to be successful in getting more material recovery facilities (MRFs) to accept aerosol containers in order for companies to continue making “recyclable” claims on aerosol products.
Another potential revision to the Green Guides is related to “recycled content” claims. The Green Guides currently allow marketers to substantiate “recycled content” claims using per-product or annual weighted average calculation methods; however, but the FTC is soliciting input as to whether alternative methods should be considered.
The FTC is also considering changes to its guidance on post-industrial recycled content claims. The Green Guides indicate that both post-industrial recycled content and post-consumer recycled (PCR) content can be included in recycled content claims. Recently, States have pushed for laws that focus only on PCR content, so it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that stakeholders request this same approach from the FTC.
For more information about the Green Guides or to provide input on HCPA’s comments, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. SPRAY
i The Current Green Guides can be found here
ii Business of Sustainability Index. PDI Technologies. Sept. 26, 2022. Available here
iii Sustainable Market Share Index. Kronthal-Sacco, R. and Whelan, T. New York University Stern Center for Sustainable Business. April 2022. Available here
iv The notice can be found here
v 16 CFR 260.12
We’re past the point of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and while Jack Frost still nips at our noses, we’re in full swing of the New Year. As we spend more time indoors during the Winter months, we’re more cognizant of indoor air quality.
Research from the House Observations of Microbial & Environmental Chemistry (HOMEChem) has shown that holiday dinners have a greater impact on indoor air quality than consumer products. However, it’s fair to wonder how the products we use every day, such as cleaners and disinfectants, also impact indoor air quality.
Recent research suggests that the amount of ground-level ozone that may be formed by consumer products varies by region due to factors other than population. Research from models found in The Impact of Volatile Chemical Products, Other VOCs & NOx on Peak Ozone in the Lake Michigan Regioni showed that consumer products were responsible for approximately 2.7 parts per billion (ppb) of ozone over Lake Michigan. The modeling also showed that, except for a small zone downwind of Chicago, reductions in NOx emissions have more influence on ozone than reductions in volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.
This differs from research in Los Angelesii and New Yorkiii, which showed that consumer products were responsible for 9ppb of ozone and five to 12ppb of ozone, respectively. While we can speculate that population density plays a role in determining the impact that consumer product emissions have on ground-level ozone, other factors, such as the amount of biogenic VOC—which are the VOCs synthesized and released from plants—also contribute to air quality.
For more than 35 years, Industry has been working with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to reduce VOC content in consumer and commercial products. CARB estimatesiv that, as a result of these regulations, VOC emissions have decreased by 50% compared to 1990 levels.
While California’s VOC regulations are the most stringent in the country, CARB’s regulations have been used as the foundation for the national regulation set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as in several other States and Canada. CARB’s regulation may also serve as the basis for future rulemakings in other countries, as well.
Despite only recently completing its previous rulemaking, CARB has already started preparing for its next rulemaking. The 2022 State Implementation Plan (SIP) Strategy for California proposes to reduce VOC emissions by another 20 tons per day to account for expected population increases in the State. This represents twice the amount of reductions from the last rulemaking, which were very challenging to achieve and have not yet been fully implemented.
Achieving the additional future reductions may require alternative approaches to decrease the amount of ground-level ozone from consumer products. This could include a broader use of photochemical reactivity rather than the current mass-based VOC approach—or could even include revisiting the foundational approaches of CARB.
The Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) has been an active participant in Statev VOC rulemakings and had discussions with several other States about new or revised VOC regulations.
The Yuletide carols may have come to an end, but upcoming activity related to VOC content in consumer products is just getting started. I encourage you to stay up-to-date on these developments and get involved by reaching out to me at email@example.com.
From all of us at HCPA, we wish you a healthy and happy 2023. SPRAY
i Abdi-Oskouei, M. et al. 2022. “The Impact of Volatile Chemical Products, Other VOCs & NOx on Peak Ozone in the Lake Michigan Region.” JGR Atmospheres 127(22): e2022JD037042.
ii Qin, M. et al. 2019. “Improving Ozone Simulations in the Great Lakes Region: The Role of Emissions, Chemistry & Dry Deposition.” Atmospheric Environment 202 (December 2018): 167-79.
iii Coggon, M.M. et al. 2021. “Volatile Chemical Product Emissions Enhance Ozone & Modulate Urban Chemistry.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118(32): e2026653118.
iv Final Statement of Reasons for CARB’s most recent rulemaking for the Consumer Products Regulations can be found here
v Colorado, Michigan and Ohio
I’ve been told more than a few times that I spend too much time in the cleaning products aisle at the grocery store. I’ll admit that I also like the soda aisle because its where I find my coveted, zero-calorie, carbonated beverage of choice, but my time in the cleaning products industry has led to an appreciation of observing emerging product trends and analyzing new product claims. While an eye-catching product label can sometimes influence a consumer’s purchasing behavior, it is sometimes the information on the back of the label—the ingredient disclosures—that drive these decisions.
There currently isn’t a Federal law that requires manufacturers and marketers of cleaning products to disclose all intentionally added ingredients on a product’s label. However, industry recognizes the importance of being transparent, which is why HCPA helped negotiate SB 258, The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017,i in California. This landmark legislation balances consumer and worker demands for more ingredient information with complex implementation issues, such as the need to protect certain proprietary and confidential business information.
Since there isn’t a national standard to disclose ingredient information, SB 258 has been adopted by manufacturers and retailers across the country as the de facto ingredient communication law, ensuring that U.S.consumers have access to important information about the products they use to stay safe and healthy. In addition to cleaning products, SB 258 covers air care and automotive products, as well as floor maintenance products and polishes that are used for household, janitorial or institutional cleaning purposes. Disinfectant products are also included under the law, but only through online disclosure due to the labeling complexities of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
Having passed in 2017, most of the effective dates for SB 258 have come and gone, meaning that household and commercial products currently on store shelves are compliant with ingredient disclosure requirements. However, intentionally added ingredients on the Proposition 65 (Prop 65) list were not required to be disclosed on label or online until Jan. 1, 2023.
Luckily, for most manufacturers and marketers, intentionally added Prop 65 ingredients are already disclosed on a specific warning label. If that’s not the case for your product, now is the time to update your ingredient information before the New Year.
A few years after SB 258, California passed SB 312, The Cosmetic Fragrance & Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2020,ii which requires manufacturers and marketers of cosmetic products sold in the State to report certain fragrance and flavor ingredients.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) already requires cosmetic products to disclose intentionally added ingredients on the label, so SB 312 doesn’t include labeling elements. However, the compounds that need to be reported under the law come from the same designated lists as SB 258, and it is critical to know that the contents of some of those lists can (and will) change over time.
This will likely be the case for fragrance allergens on Annex III of the EU Cosmetics Regulation No. 1223/2009.iii Under SB 258, fragrance allergens at or above a concentration of 100 parts per million (ppm) must be disclosed on the product label or include a statement that reads: “Contains fragrance allergen(s)” with a complete list reported online.
Under SB 312, fragrance allergens must be disclosed to the California State Dept. of Public Health when present in a rinse-off cosmetic product at a concentration of 100 ppm or more and in a leave-on cosmetic product at a concentration of 10 ppm or more. Under both laws, the concentration is for the total amount of all fragrance allergens, not only an individual substance.
The European Commission recently proposediv to amend Annex III to include additional fragrance ingredients, which will have significant impacts for companies selling products in California. Under SB 312, manufacturers and marketers of cosmetic products have six months to update their disclosures. Under SB 258, manufacturers and marketers of household and commercial products have six months to update their online disclosures and 18 months to update their labels. While the final adoption date isn’t known yet, the European Commission indicated its intent to adopt the proposal in the first half of 2023.
Keeping that timeline in mind, companies may want to start working with their fragrance suppliers to determine what changes, if any, need to be made to their disclosures.
ProductIngredients.com is a great resource to help ensure that your products are compliant or you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. SPRAY
i Available here
ii Available here
iii Available here
iv WTO Notification is available here
On Sept. 21, the U.S. Senate ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The U.S. is now one of nearly 140 parties that have agreed to the Amendment to globally phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
Under the Kigali Amendment, countries must decrease their use of HFCs based on a timeline. For example, developed countries, such as the U.S., must reduce the use of HFCs by 85% by 2036, compared to 2011–2013, which should sound somewhat familiar to companies in the aerosol industry.
The U.S. has already implemented an HFC phase-down program under the American Innovation & Manufacturing (AIM) Acti, which directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to decrease the production and consumption of HFCs to 15% of the baseline by 2036. Chart 1ii shows the expected reduction schedule compared to baseline levels.
You may be wondering, first, if Congress has already directed the EPA to phase down the use of HFCs in the same timeline, why ratify the Kigali Amendment? Second, what impact does ratification of the Kigali Amendment have on the U.S. aerosol industry?
While the ratification of the Kigali Amendment proves that the U.S. is committed to combating climate change, there are also international legal consequences. Once the President submits U.S. ratification and the U.S. becomes party to the amendment, the U.S. will not be subject to certain HFC trade restrictions that come into force in 2033. Specifically, Article 4 of the Kigali Amendment restricts parties to the Montreal Protocol from trading controlled substances with countries that have not ratified the amendment.
Furthermore, as part of the ratification, Congress has directed the Secretary of State to propose that China be classified as a developed country and be subject to the same timeline as the U.S. and other developed countries.
As for the domestic manufacturing of aerosol products, ratification doesn’t mean much. The EPA will continue its rulemakings under the AIM Act, and the aerosol industry will need to continue working with the EPA and other stakeholders on upcoming proposals that are expected to be published before the end of the year.
The first proposal will be for the allocation allowance rule for fiscal year 2024 and beyond. The first HFC Allowance Allocation & Trading Program ruleiii established an HFC allowance allocation and trading system to phase down HFCs, but only for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. As of Jan. 1, 2024, the phase-down will decrease from 90% of the baseline to 60%. At this time, we will also see whether or not imported finished products are included in the allocation methodology (only bulk HFCs are subject to allocation under the current rule).
The second proposal will be for the “Technology Transition” portioniv of the AIM Act. The EPA—either on its own initiative or petitioned by a stakeholder—will restrict, either fully, partially or on a graduated schedule, the use of HFCs in sectors or subsectors where they are used. Last year, the EPA grantedv 11 petitions (10 full and one partially) under this section of the AIM Act; it has until Oct. 7, 2023, to finalize a rule. HCPA will submit comments to the EPA on both proposed rules when they are published.
If you have questions on the U.S. ratification of the Kigali Amendment or any aspect of the AIM Act, please contact me at email@example.com. SPRAY
i 42 USC 7675
ii Available here
iii 86 FR 55116
iv Subsection (i)
v 86 FR 57141
Recycling is a critical topic—and one that I’ve written about for SPRAY many times. However, one area that I’ve not yet addressed is the marketplace for the production of new manufactured products. While empty aluminum and steel aerosol containers have robust end markets with an increasing demand for more material, that isn’t the case for all materials that can be recycled.
In the U.S., when there’s a discussion around recycled content, we focus on post-consumer recycled (PCR) content. PCR material is what consumers provide to their local recycling program that then gets sorted, processed and eventually turned into new material. However, recycled content, when not specified to be PCR, can also include pre-consumer recycled content or post-industrial recycled content.
Last April, I visited a company called Constellium that recycles aluminum from various sources and turns it into new materials that can be used to manufacture new products. We discussed the potential of including empty aluminum aerosol containers within used beverage container (UBC) bales. It was there that I saw firsthand why companies that recycle materials prefer post-industrial material to post-consumer. Post-industrial material is typically cleaner (less contamination), is a more consistent source of material and is more cost-effective to collect.
For these reasons, post-industrial material is a preferred source. This is why, in the U.S., environmentalists are pushing specifically for PCR and not just recycled content minimums. This will help ensure that consumer waste doesn’t just end up in landfills. There are plenty of markets for material such as aluminum and steel, so recyclers are pushing for more material, whether post-industrial or post-consumer; however, this isn’t the case for all material types, such as plastic.
You’ve probably heard different numbers for the recycling rate of plastic materials. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reportsi it at 8.7%, while the U.S. Dept. of Energy statesii 5%. Unfortunately, there isn’t a competitive market for most plastic waste streams because recycled plastic is generally used as a substitute for virgin, meaning its price needs to be similar to virgin. However, the price for virgin plastic doesn’t fully reflect the costs of collecting, sorting and processing recycled material. Additionally, mechanically recycled plastic can’t be used at all, or used at high levels, in certain applications due to quality concerns. If we could resolve these issues, there would be a greater demand for recycled plastic material and companies would figure out how to source and recycle plastic at much higher rates because of the high return on investment.
Individual companies have voluntary minimum recycled content requirements that they are trying to meet for their plastic packaging. Those commitments should be applauded and will certainly drive the end-market for those recycled materials. Here in the U.S., in order to further spur end-market growth for recycled content, several States have passed legislation requiring minimum PCR content in various types of plastic. California, Colorado, New Jersey and Washington State have (or are currently) developing different sets of PCR requirements within their laws, and it’s already created a complicated patchwork of requirements with different scopes, timelines and PCR content minimum percentages.
Beyond the patchwork of regulatory challenges, the bigger question is whether there will be sufficient supply to meet the PCR requirements. Earlier this year, the Independent Commodity Intelligence Services conducted a surveyiii on the uncertainties of industry’s ability to source enough material to meet these requirements, as well as lingering questions regarding the economics. These drivers may force companies to make hard decisions on whether to comply or pay the fines associated with noncompliance. However, this isn’t just a challenge in the U.S. Earlier this year, Canada conducted a consultationiv around the development of minimum content regulations for plastic items and stakeholders in Europe are pushingv for a minimum of 30% recycled content in plastic packaging.
For any reader that manufactures aluminum or steel packaging, or uses aluminum or steel packaging as the primary material in your end-use products, you may be wondering if there’s any activity around mandates for your package. The answer—at this time—is No, not in the U.S. at least. However, as plastic PCR laws are implemented across the country, the focus will inevitably shift away from plastic and onto other types of material.
From an advocacy standpoint, it’ll be critical to be prepared to discuss what is technologically and economically feasible and what is not. I would encourage you all to take a look at your internal processes, or talk with your supply chain, to understand the current and potential future capabilities for all your packaging needs. Find out what their current PCR levels are and if they are exploring ways to increase that amount. Are there technological challenges to increasing the amount of PCR in your package if government were to mandate higher minimums? Is there enough supply of recycled content if every company were to start requiring more PCR? If not, what can be done to improve the recycling of your package so that material can be used again in a future product? It doesn’t hurt to be proactive in asking these simple questions while there’s no mandate for your material and you still have time.
For more information or to discuss this further, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. SPRAY
ii Milbrandt, A., Coney, K., Badgett, A., Beckham, G.T. (2022). Quantification and evaluation of plastic waste in the U.S. Resources, Conservation & Recycling. Vol. 183.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a number of new challenges for all of us. For many, one of the minor challenges was working from home for the first time. While I know several of you reading this article enjoyed participating in Teams or Zoom calls in your pajamas, interfacing with each other separated by glowing screens changed the way we communicate and collaborate.
At one point or another, we all experienced the panic and frustration of needing to reboot a computer before an important meeting, and you couldn’t make it 30 minutes without hearing a dog bark in the background or reminding someone they were on mute. After troubleshooting these “technical difficulties,” virtual meetings became almost too straightforward and tailored to check boxes on a “to-do” list. We lost the “hallway conversations” that happen organically in the office, as well as the ability to attend in-person events where we can talk about a wide range of issues without having a set an agenda and a “hard stop.”
For the most part, legislative and regulatory activity in the U.S. didn’t stop just because we were working from home. The first public hearing I virtually participated in was for a rulemaking conducted by the Hawaii Dept. of Health, and while I’m still bitter about participating in that rulemaking from my couch rather than on a tropical island in the Pacific, government officials and staff adjusted just as Industry did and it now seems that we’re busier than ever with new and changing laws and regulations. With all of this activity, it’s essential that industry continue to communicate and collaborate—and this isn’t the case for just the U.S.
While global supply chains have received a lot of attention, there have been increasing government requirements and demands around the world, and what happens in one country or region can directly impact the rest of the world. Take the European Union (EU), for example. As part of its Green Deal, Europe is progressing with its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), which aims to transform Europe’s economy into the first climate neutral continent by 2050. As part of the CSS, the EU is looking to overhaul its current chemicals legislation and phase out chemicals based on hazard. Even if you don’t do business in Europe, it is important to be aware of this activity because what is happening there will eventually come to other parts of the world in some shape or manner. For the U.S., it likely means future State activity that will try to copy elements of what the EU aims to complete, as we’ve already seen with chemical restrictions and increased labeling requirements.
At the end of June, Steve Caldeira, HCPA President & CEO, and I spent a couple of weeks in Europe meeting with a number of allied trade associations. These meetings aimed to foster and sustain relationships, build upon common and emerging policy issues and collaborate in an increasingly intertwined global economy. We also had the opportunity to meet with officials from the European Commission and share a U.S. perspective to help inform their ongoing work.
This was HCPA’s first international travel since the start of the pandemic and it was important to not only meet with the European Aerosol Federation (FEA) and the International Association for Soaps, Detergents & Maintenance Products (AISE), but other trade associations as well, such as the British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association (BAMA), the French Aerosols Committee (Comité Français des Aérosols or CFA) and the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). While we met with most of these organizations virtually over the past two years, having these conversations in-person helped us engage in more productive dialogue and address a wider range of issues.
If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend attending FEA’s upcoming Global Aerosol Event: FEAerosol 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal (Sept. 21–22). This will also be the location for the next International Liaison Committee (ILC) meeting. The ILC is a network of global aerosol trade associations, and this year’s program will address topics such as recycling, extended producer responsibility (EPR) and post-consumer recycled content. Having this meeting in-person—for the first time since 2019—inevitably means that conversations in meetings, in hallways or at networking events could go in far more directions. However, even if you don’t have the ability to travel to Portugal for an aerosol conference, there will be many other meetings in the U.S. and globally to attend and meet face-to-face with industry representatives. You’ll just have to dig your business clothes out of the closet, however, because pajamas aren’t part of the dress code.
If you would like more information about this year’s ILC meeting or other opportunities for global aerosol collaboration, please contact me at email@example.com. SPRAY