Sustainability Program:

EREF’s Sustainability Program enables the Foundation to educate key decision makers as a number of industries search for solutions to more efficiently reuse and reduce waste. Sustainable materials management comes at a time of increased corporate focus on social responsibility driven by consumer interest, increased regulatory focus on extended producer responsibility, and roadblocks to sustainability such as technological limitations, greenwashing and limited consumer education. Sustainable materials management requires cooperation from a number of parties, including, but not limited to, manufacturers, brands, consumers and the waste industry. 

The program:

  • Aggregates valuable data and facilitates research on consumer goods and packaging that inform decisions to advance circular economy.
  • Leads the conversation regarding sustainability and science-based data, thus serving as an unbiased resource throughout the supply chain.
  • Provides tools that help to educate the supply chain on how upstream packaging and purchasing decisions impact the waste stream and environment. 
  • Enables EREF to serve as a resource for product manufacturers to understand the true sustainability specs of their packaging options, such as the end markets and carbon footprint of the different materials.  
  • Examines the balance of plastic and other packaging materials in the system, develops an inventory of the plastic packaging types created, and gathers data on the recovery rates of each material to understand how much is cycled back into the system versus how much has been lost in collection, sent to landfill, or littered.  
  • Strengthens the opportunities provided to the EREF community to explore a broader depth of sustainability focused research projects. 

EREF seeks to ensure that all players have access to credible science and the current state of practice affecting circular economy, which then proctors productive dialogue and initiatives that facilitate solutions. EREF forms and maintains relationships with all participants in the circular economy including manufacturers, brands, consumers and the waste industry. 

The Sustainability Program supports the Foundation’s mission to advance scientific research that enables innovation in sustainable waste management practices, as well as move EREF’s vision forward of lighting the way towards a more circular economy. 


Consumer Relationship Between Packaging and Food Waste