RILA’s First Annual Retailer Environmental Roundtable

Meeting Recap

In early November 2021, RILA virtually hosted its first annual Retailer Environmental Roundtable, a joint meeting of the Environmental Advocacy Committee, Sustainability Committee, Environmental Compliance Network, and Zero Waste Network. Highlights from the event include climate policy updates, a review of how to minimize hazardous waste early in the product life cycle, insight into present and future packaging legislation, and peer-to-peer benchmarking discussions.


The first day of the Roundtable began with a presentation from Beveridge & Diamond, PC’s Brook Detterman and RILA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Austen Jensen with updates on retail impact policy areas identified in RILA’s Retail Climate Priorities, federal reconciliation climate action policy, upcoming climate regulatory priorities, and RILA’s climate resources.


  • Priority Climate Change Policies for Retail
    • Economy Wide Carbon Pricing
    • Transportation: Executive Order on Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks
    • Buildings & Facilities
    • Waste
    • Agriculture & Forestry
  • Key Climate Policy Drivers
    • Government Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Targets
    • International Agreements
    • Corporate Governance & Disclosure
  • Upcoming Climate Regulation
    • EPA may shift regulations in the power sector without action from Congress; could reduce the volume of RE/RECs that companies need to purchase to meet voluntary GHG targets and ESG goals
    • Transportation mandates regarding cars and trucks; incentives for electrification, electric vehicles, and government spending and procurement; clean truck rules, indirect source rules, and market-based fuel programs in states
    • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)and Financial Regulation are areas to watch
After the climate check-in, participants convened in three breakout rooms to benchmark with each other on climate (facilitated by Frank Zambrelli of Accenture), current priorities in regulatory advocacy (facilitated by Aaron Goldberg and Elizabeth Richardson of Beveridge & Diamond, PC), and hazardous waste (facilitated by Jeff Scott of US Ecology).

Following the breakout sessions, Ashley Bell and Joe Donnelly of UL gave a presentation on how retailers can partner with their suppliers to improve on sustainability goals, reduce hazardous waste, and lower reverse logistics expenses by removing hazardous waste elements in both chemical-containing products and batteries contained in consumer electronics.


  • By the time a product hits the shelf, it’s too late to change its hazardous waste impact
  • Understand your waste classifications
  • Identify priority hazardous waste products
    • Considerations include product weight, return frequency, ability to be reformulated, testing potential, retail focus, waste disposal cost
  • Identify chemicals triggering hazardous waste codes
  • Work with suppliers to remove hazardous chemicals
    • Reformulating considers regulatory implications, sustainability performance, optimizations in product
    •  Direct collaboration on specific products / categories or through incentive systems to influence change at the supplier level.
During the final session of Day One, participants heard from RILA’s Tiffin Shewmake, Kaela Martins, and Susan Kirsch on upcoming trends in the new year regarding solid waste, refrigerants, chemicals in the supply chain, and climate resilience. Jay Kairam from Walmart, Andy Dabydeen from Canadian Tire, and Ron Jarvis from The Home Depot provided a firsthand retail perspective on the waste policy engagement landscape, chemical programs, and climate resilience, respectively.


Garth Hickle from Signalfire Group, a subsidiary of Resource Recycling Systems, opened Day Two of the Roundtable with an overview of the packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation recently passed in a couple U.S. states and is gaining traction in others,  and highlighted important implementation dates and details.

During the following session, Lauren Doroghazi of Multistate highlighted what packaging legislation may come to fruition at the state and federal levels in 2022, and what key elements and trends retailers should look out for.


  • Political Landscape
    • By and large environmental issues are partisan issues in the state legislature. Policy proposals addressing plastic bag bans, material bans, packaging EPR, and recycled content mandates are most often part of a Democrat platform. 
    • Recent elections in Virginia and New Jersey that favored the Republican party may change the way states engage with environmental issues in 2022.
  • Oregon EPR
    • Producers responsible for: contamination reduction programs, education and outreach resources, waste prevention/reuse grants, rural recycling transportation costs, processor payments, and expanded collection access.
    • “Small producers” not required to join a producer responsibility organization (PRO) and may be exempted overall.
    • DEQ implementation planning in 2021, law effective in 2022, needs assessment for collection expansion, pilot projects for contamination reduction, and studies for processor fees in 2023, first PRO program plans assessment due in 2024, producers must join a PRO by 2025.
  • Maine EPR
    • Municipal reimbursement for collection, transportation, and processing costs
    • Retailers have no obligations under the act other than for private label brands
    • Anticipated adoption of technical rules and provisional adoption of substantive rules in summer 2024, final adoption of substantive rules by summer 2025.
  • Other Legislation on the Horizon
    • Colorado, Minnesota, Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire are expected to see EPR legislation in 2022
    • Washington, Colorado, and Virginia enacted Polystyrene bans in 2021, and Minnesota is expected to follow in 2022.
    • Washington enacted a recycled content mandate in 2021, and Oregon, Maryland, Connecticut, and Vermont are expected to follow in 2022.
After Doroghazi’s presentation, Roundtable participants had the opportunity to join one of three breakout rooms to benchmark on the following subjects: packaging policy (facilitated by Lauren Doroghazi of Multistate), waste operations and materials sourcing (facilitated by Resa Dimino of Signalfire Group), or what’s on the horizon for regulatory advocacy (facilitated by Aaron Goldberg and Elizabeth Richardson of Beveridge & Diamond).

The final session of the day was moderated by CHEP’s Dennis Raffa, in which Kate Barry of Chainalytics highlighted what the top trends and movement are within sustainable packaging for retailers, and Ann Meitz from 3M shared how these trends and innovations impact 3M’s Consumer Business.


  • Trends in sustainable packaging
    • Increased recycled content
    • Advancement of circular materials
    • Bio alternatives
    • Dissolvable inks and adhesives
    • Digital tags
  • Breakthroughs
    • Advanced barrier coatings
    • Monolayer flexibles
  • Challenges
    • Solutions aren’t widespread
    • Cost and development of implementation
    • Interest to scale
    • Need for development of recycling and industrial composting in the US
  • 3M’s Sustainable Packaging Innovations
    • Moving to more circular materials
    • Removing problematic plastics & adding recycling instructions
    • Developing circular consumer packaging options
    • Testing novel paper and flexible solutions
A special thank you to our strategic partners: Beveridge & Diamond, UL, CHEP, Accenture, Resource Recycling Systems, Schneider Electric, Smarter Sorting, and US Ecology for contributing their time and expertise to produce exceptional meeting content and opportunities to engage with subject matter experts on sustainability and environmental compliance issues. Many thanks to our facilitators during peer-to-peer benchmarking sessions: Frank Zambrelli, Accenture; Jeff Scott, US Ecology; Aaron Goldberg, Beveridge & Diamond; Elizabeth Richardson, Beveridge & Diamond; Lauren Doroghazi, Multistate; and Resa Dimino, Signalfire Group. Thank you for your contributions which made the first-ever Retailer Environmental Roundtable a success!


Recordings and slides from the presentations are available on relevant committee and network pages for RILA’s: Sustainability Committee, Environmental Compliance Network, Environmental Advocacy Committee, and Zero Waste Network. Member log-in is required, but RILA members may email Molly Auten to request a link to the recordings.

For information regarding the Environmental Compliance Network or Environmental Advocacy Committee, please contact Susan Kirsch, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs.

For information regarding the Sustainability Committee, please contact Erin Hiatt, Vice President, CSR.
For information regarding the Zero Waste Network, please contact Kaela Martins, Senior Manager, Environmental Programs and Retail Compliance Center.

  • Climate and Sustainability
  • Ensuring a Safe, Sustainable Future
  • Retail Sustainability
  • Sustainability & Environment
  • Environmental Compliance
  • Legal Affairs & Compliance
  • Retail Compliance Center

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