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Proposed ePET Legislation

January 8th, 2010

Henry Fingerhut, Brian Fochtman, Caroline Lee, Allison O’Rourke. Georgetown University


To motivate increased energy investment efficiency of the plastic beverage bottle industry through the establishment of a voluntary audit and certification program.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

Section 1. SHORT TITLE

This Act may be cited as the “ePET Program Act”.

Section 2. FINDINGS

Congress finds the following:

(1) Petroleum used in the production of PET bottles comprises 7-8% of national petroleum consumption. Decreased energy investment in plastic bottles would reduce petroleum dependence while providing an economic benefit to manufacturers.

(2) Over 4 million tons of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic is currently consumed in the production of plastic beverage bottles, comprising an annual energy investment of approximately 400 million gigajoules (GJ).

(3) Recent industry efforts to conserve resources in production have been successful and well received; many companies have reduced their average bottle weight by one half from 38 g/L.

(4) Established government and industry programs, including Energy Star and LEED, gauge, certify, and promulgate objective information about products’ energy efficiency and environmental impact. The widespread public adoption of these programs has positively influenced consumer behavior and drives their respective industries to more efficient practices.


(1) Definitions- For the purposes of this section:

(a) ePET BOTTLE- The term ‘ePET bottle’ means a beverage bottle produced with an overall energy investment not to exceed 20 GJ/tonne over the bottle lifecycle.

(b) BOTTLE LIFE-CYCLE – The bottle lifecycle includes the production, transportation and recycling stages of the bottle.

(c) PRODUCTION STAGE- The production stage shall include the manufacture of the plastic resin and composition of bottle from the plastic resin and all energy costs therein.

(d) TRANSPORTATION STAGE- The transportation stage shall include movement of the plastic resin to the bottle manufacturing plant, the bottle to the beverage manufacturing plant, and filled bottles to the final point of purchase.

(e) RECYCLING STAGE- The recycling state shall include processes necessary to convert the plastic beverage bottle and all constituent parts, including labels and dyes, to reusable plastic resin

(2) Establishment- Congress shall initiate the ePET program to audit participating producers’ energy cost per bottle and certify qualifying plastic beverage bottles, beginning not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act. Qualifying beverage bottles certified under the ePET program may display an ePET label upon date of certification.

(3) Study- In creating the program under this section, the Secretary of Energy shall study and provide recommendations to –

(a) Improve the certification process cost-efficiency and accuracy for international and national beverage bottling companies

(b) Improve the infrastructure at all three points in the lifecycle of the plastic bottle

(c) Increase recycling program availability and participation

(d) Link local recycling plants to bottle production plants

(4) Program Design- The program under this section shall be designed –

(a) To set and keep technologically current minimum energy efficiency standards and to motivate industry-wide adherence to and advancement of such practices.

(b) To standardize and promulgate environmental marketing claims within an objective, holistic context

(c) To effectively and prominently label certified plastic beverage bottles with a recognizable ePET label.

(d) To foster public awareness and adoption of consumer products’ energy cost by providing objective, comprehensible information via accessible outlets

(5) Public Engagement and Review Dissemination- The ePET program administration shall provide for the dissemination of public awareness about the ePET program, to include point of purchase informative materials and educational outreach. In addition, a website shall be established and regularly updated to provide ePET program information and to comprehensibly disclose energy investment data for each certified bottle.

(6) Report to Congress on Program Design- not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this act, the department head of the ePET program shall transmit to Congress a report setting forth the design of the enacted program. Such report shall include an explanation of how each of the program design requirements under subsection (d) has been incorporated into the program.

(7) Program Reevaluation- The department head of the ePET program shall transmit to Congress a report examining current industry levels for the three bottle lifecycle stages, the current infrastructure standards and major industry innovations, and the percent of certification within the industry. This report is to be transmitted to Congress at the end of each 5 year period and is to include a recommended ePET-qualifying energy threshold for the upcoming 5 year period. This new threshold will be adopted by the ePET program pending review by Congress.

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