Ontario calls for more Producer Responsibility in Radical Overhaul of Waste Policy
The government of Ontario is proposing a new Waste Reduction Act that would overhaul its waste policy with full individual producer responsibility, more competition and a new agency with enforcement powers. The summer 2013 consultation sessions are now complete. Comments and recommendations on the proposed Waste Reduction Act were submitted by the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO), which has worked for these changes for over a decade.
California PaintCare Program Releases Year One Report
California's paint stewardship program marked its one-year anniversary on October 19. In the 8.5 months since inception, the program has collected over 600,000 gallons of paint, including recycling more than 400,000 gallons of latex paint, at 495 drop-off sites. PaintCare, the stewardship organization supervising the program, released its Year 1 Annual Report (PDF) on October 1 to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). PaintCare reviewed the report in an October 17 webinar (PDF). The California Architectural Paint Stewardship Program was signed into law Sept. 28, 2010. The statute requires architectural paint manufacturers to develop and implement a program to reduce, reuse, recycle, and properly manage post-consumer architectural paint in the state.
Oregon PaintCare Program Sees Gains
The Oregon paint stewardship program continued to see increases in collection in its third year of operation. PaintCare, the group responsible for overseeing and developing Oregon's program, released their Annual Report (PDF) in September. The report showed that 95% of Oregon residents live within 15 miles of a paint collection site, with 100 locations operating statewide. A total of 580,693 gallons of paint were collected from June 30, 2012 to June 30, 2013, an increase of 9,888 gallons from the previous year.
MicroGREEN Polymers: New Technology Yields PET Cups from Recycled Resin
The Northwest Product Stewardship Council visited MicroGREEN Polymers' factory to see the manufacture of new "InCycle" beverage cups that are made from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) in a new patented process. The new technology creates beverage cups that are lighter weight than paper with better insulating properties... read the full article on the NWPSC website.
California Carpet Law a Driver in Design Change
Writing in The Dalton Daily Citizen, Werner Braun, president of the Carpet and Rug Institute, praised the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) with coming up with creative ways to implement a successful recycling program for carpet in California. Braun stressed that he believes that the program will be instrumental in making it easier to recycle carpet in the future by driving changes in design.
E-Cycle Washington Turns Five
Washington state's manufacturer-run and financed electronics product stewardship program, E-Cycle Washington, marked its fifth year in operation, which includes recycling over 200 million pounds (PDF) of TVs, computers, and monitors. NBC TriCities KNDO covered the program's success.
Solid Waste & Recycling Blog: Dispelling the BS about BC
A recent post by Usman Valiante, titled Dispelling the BS about BC, looked at the extended producer responsibility (EPR) system recently introduced in British Columbia for Printed-Paper and Packaging (PPP). The post looks at the different elements of the PPP plan and argues that it will be a successful model.
PaintCare Oregon Hiring Outreach Firm
PaintCare seeks a contractor in Oregon to conduct public outreach activities and purchase advertising for the Oregon Paint Stewardship Program to begin in January 2014 - see the Request for Qualifications (PDF) (via the Association of Oregon Recyclers newsletter).
What's Happening with Carpet Recycling - webinar
On Nov. 4, King County LinkUp, Seattle Public Utilities, Washington Department of Ecology, and Zero Waste Washington host a webinar on carpet recycling and current developments locally and around the country. Speakers include representatives from Seattle Public Utilities, King County LinkUp, Flooring Association Northwest, CalRecyle, and Zero Waste Washington.
Successful Industry-Driven Deposit Programs: The Beer Store - webinar
On Nov. 7, the Container Recycling Institute hosts a webinar on The Beer Store: A Model for Sustainable Packaging Management. which will examine the success of Ontario, Canada's Beer Store. For 85 years, the Ontario, Canada-based Beer Store has run a 100% industry-driven and funded deposit program for beer containers, recovered an estimated 75 billion beer bottles, and recently expanded to take back and refund deposits on all wine, spirit and cooler containers sold in Ontario.
Six Classes of Chemicals of Concern - webinar
Each Tuesday until Dec. 10, 2013, join this series of webinars about six families or "classes" of chemicals which contain many of the harmful substances found in everyday products, brought to you by the Green Science Policy Institute. Instead of worrying about tens of thousands of untested chemicals, learn from distinguished scientists who are outstanding teachers about six classes containing many of the bad actor chemicals in consumer products. The series will move towards solutions and explore green chemistry alternatives.
A Package Deal: Europe's EPR Alliance - webinar
Producer Responsibility for packaging has become a proven concept in more than 30 European countries. On Nov. 20, the Product Stewardship Institute hosts a webinar on EPR and packaging. Speakers include Prof. Thomas Lindquist, who coined the term Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in 1990, and Joachim Quoden, managing director of EXPRA. The Extended Producer Responsibility Alliance (EXPRA), founded in 2013, represents packaging and packaging waste recovery and recycling organizations in 17 European Union member nations, and serves as a single authoritative voice on policy-related matters.
John MacGillivray, Solid Waste Programs Lead for City of Kirkland Public Works
What was your introduction to product stewardship?
Shortly after I started working for City of Kirkland, E-Cycle Washington legislation passed, moved through rule making and into implementation. I also became aware of product stewardship efforts intended to address secure medicine return issues. The Kirkland City Council has long been supportive product stewardship initiatives. I began by getting involved in drafting Council resolutions and letters of support for statewide product stewardship such as E-Cycle Washington, the yet-to-be-implemented Mercury-containing bulbs law passed in 2010, and the secure medicine return legislation that has failed to pass the legislature for the past several years.
What intrigues you about PS?
As a governmental entity we do our best to help residents find their way to the right program to best manage their difficult-to-recycle items. We frequently get calls and questions about what to do with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), old medicines, and other materials. From this perspective, E-Cycle Washington is an absolutely outstanding model, and being able to provide our residents with a free and convenient way to recycle their TV's, laptops, and computers has been wonderful. E-Cycle is managed well, is very successful, and has shown that the product stewardship approach can and does work.
We still have an issue with CFLs and a lack of sufficient collection and recycling infrastructure. We owe thanks to companies like Bartell Drugs that have stepped up to fill the gap in the interim by collecting CFL bulbs. But retailers should not have to self-fund collection programs when the manufacturers are ultimately responsible for creating these energy efficient items that are toxic at their end of life. Product stewardship can, and should, be applied to managing this waste stream as well. The impact on manufacturers is minimal, and any additional costs they might face can be recouped through incorporating it into the product price. They don't really have to dig into their own pockets. I'm hopeful the Department of Ecology will be successful in passing a revised piece of legislation that will allow them to implement this important product stewardship program in 2014.
For some reason, the product stewardship approach becomes largely partisan, particularly with pharmaceutical take-back. This does not make sense to me, and I say this as a life-long political conservative. Supporting or not supporting recycling, waste reduction, and now product stewardship is not and should never be a political statement. Even many manufacturers – as in the paint and rechargeable battery industries – feel this is a non-partisan issue and are readily supporting stewardship programs for their own products. This support is coming from industry itself – not from environmental activists or the government.
What does PS mean to you?
Product stewardship is an approach that provides manufacturers with a way to take responsibility for their products from cradle to grave, and takes the onus off of local government. In other words, producers have to take responsibility for the hazardous products they create, and residents are provided with a convenient, easy way to dispose of their recyclable or problematic items. With CFLs right now, for example, a small percentage of them are making their way into collection programs. The mercury in these products makes them dangerous for the environment at the end of their lives and they must be managed safely. Any product stewardship program could easily follow the E-Cycle Program model and be successful without burdening government's limited resources. Then government can then be left to promote the stewardship programs and focus on providing education and outreach, which is what we do best. This approach has worked well with the implementation of E-Cycle Washington, and residents across the State clearly love the program.
We need a similar program for rechargeable and alkaline batteries. For alkalines in particular, Kirkland spends eight to ten thousand dollars per year in disposal costs. This is not sustainable or equitable. It may not sound like a lot of money but these are ratepayer dollars that could be diverted for other purposes or cut from the budget entirely if a product stewardship programs was in place. I feel the same is likely true for cities across our state. As stewards of our environment, most cities feel a responsibility to help their residents and businesses divert these problematic items from the landfill, but with our limited resources the current system of managing many of these products with ratepayer dollars is not sustainable. The costs of managing these products from cradle to grave are better applied to the producers and consumers of the products.
What's your personal PS goal?
The secure medicine return program is very important to me personally. I would love to see a product stewardship program passed statewide. In the meantime, I am very impressed by the recent action of the King County Board of Health. They have taken a true leadership role in the state by addressing the issue of unwanted medication and safe disposal; the County deserves to be commended. Again, I support this as a life-long Republican. This is clearly an issue of protecting the public health and it should rise above partisan politics. No matter on which side of the aisle you sit, no one wants to a see a child or a family member lose their life to prescription drug addiction or overdose. It is a serious public health issue about which we should all be concerned. I challenge our State legislators to come together in the next legislative session, give a nod to the County for paving the way, and once and for all legislate a solution to this serious problem.
I have kids, and like all kids these days they are at risk for being introduced to narcotics, which are often more available because households have no safe, convenient place to dispose of leftover medications. My wife recently recovered from knee surgery and used only a few of forty pills prescribed to her. Now those pills are sitting around my house until I can bring them to one of the few inconvenient spots in the County that will accept controlled substances. This situation is common, and has contributed to a very high rate of prescription drug abuse in our state. This is a downward spiral for kids with access to these medications: when they run out of their supply of stolen pills and when they can no longer afford the expensive prescription narcotics like Oxycontin that run over $1 per milligram on the street, they turn to cheaper and unpredictably-potent heroin.
The State of Washington needs to be the leader on this issue. We need convenient, secure collection sites that move these drugs out of our kids' hands and out of our environment. A product stewardship approach statewide would accomplish this, as it has in other jurisdictions around the globe. To not take action is simply wrong.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Some of the best product stewardship programs are just across the border in British Columbia. And outstanding programs exist in Europe as well. Yet some producers won't move forward in our country, or our state, while other industries are supportive and bills still don't pass. At some point however, we are going to be successful. The product stewardship approach just makes so much sense, regardless of the side of the aisle on which you sit.
The Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC) is a coalition of government agencies in Washington and Oregon working on solid waste, recycling, resource conservation, environmental protection, public health and other issues. Together with non-government agencies, businesses and individuals, we form a network that supports product stewardship and extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies and programs. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.ProductStewardship.net.
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