David Allaway, ODEQ: Peter Canepa, ODEQ
Popular Material Attributes: How Well Do They Actually Predict Environmental Benefits? Businesses, policy-makers, and the general public often rely on simple attributes to inform material selection. These attributes – such as “recyclable” or “compostable” – are widely assumed to result in reductions in environmental impacts. But how valid are these assumptions? The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently asked that question and was surprised to discover very little systematic assessment of them. So it commissioned a study – the results of which are being published this fall – that reviewed the last 18 years of global research into the environmental impacts of packaging and food service items with and without four popular attributes: recycled content, recyclable, bio-based, and compostable. Collectively, the literature identified the relative environmental impacts for thousands of comparisons, from which some important trends emerge that should inform product design, procurement, and waste management programs. David Allaway and Peter Canepa of Oregon DEQ will present the study motivation, methodology, results and recommendations, leaving plenty of time to discuss these important results with attendees.
10:00 to 11:30