Vermont Passes Nation's First Product Stewardship Law for Single-Use Batteries
Vermont became the first state to require manufacturers of single-use batteries to fund and manage a statewide take-back and recycling program. The bill, H.695 (An Act Relating to Establishing a Product Stewardship Program for Primary Batteries), was signed into law by the Vermont Governor on May 22. The law requires that single-use (primary) battery manufacturers submit a plan to the state by July 2015 outlining how they will implement a convenient collection program. The collection program is scheduled to be operational in 2016.
Colorado Passes Paint Stewardship Bill
Colorado's legislature passed bill SB 14-029, requiring paint manufacturers to fund and operate a post-consumer paint take-back program throughout the state. Upon signature by the Governor, Colorado will become the eighth state to pass a paint stewardship law.
California Home-Generated Pharmaceutical Waste Collection and Disposal Act
On May 29, SB 1014, the Home-Generated Pharmaceutical Waste Collection and Disposal Act, passed the California Senate 33-3, as amended. If passed by the Assembly, the bill would create a state standard for any medicine take-back program. Visit the California Product Stewardship Council for more information.
Washington's Mercury-Containing Lights Program Plan Due Date Extended
The Washington Department of Ecology announced that the due date for the producers of mercury-containing lights to submit a draft Product Stewardship Plan has been extended to June 12, 2014. The draft stewardship plan(s) will be posted for public review in late June/early July. The statewide program to collect and safely recycle mercury-containing bulbs and tubes will start on January 1, 2015.
DEA Medicine Take Back Day Signals Need for a Permanent Medicine Take Back Program
Washington State residents dropped-off 16,677 pounds of unwanted medicines for safe disposal at local law enforcement agencies on the National DEA Prescription Drug Take-Back Day held on April 26, 2014. The April 26th event collected 2,169 more pounds of unwanted medicines than the previous event held in October 2013. Visit Take Back Your Meds for a list of temporary take-back sites offered by some communities, pharmacies, and law enforcement agencies in Washington to help safely dispose of unwanted and expired medicines.
New Zealand Considers Product Stewardship Priorities
The New Zealand Ministry for the Environment released the document "Priority waste streams for product stewardship intervention: A discussion document" for comment. The document asks whether four product waste streams (electronic and electrical equipment; tires; agrichemicals and farm plastics; and refrigerants and other synthetic greenhouse gases) are the right waste streams to be the focus of potential government intervention and whether they should be declared priority products under the Waste Minimisation Act. Producers of a designated priority product would be required to develop a product stewardship scheme. Since passing the Waste Minimisation Act in 2009, New Zealand "has encouraged voluntary product stewardship efforts as a first priority," but according to the New Zealand Herald, Environment Minister Adams said "the time has come to seriously consider appropriate mandatory approaches for selected priority waste streams." Comments on the document are due July 2, 2014.
Application Period Open for 2014 Arrow Awards
The application period is now open for the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC)'s 5th Annual Arrow Awards. The Arrow Awards recognize business and industry leaders for outstanding leadership, innovation and partnerships in product stewardship and green design. Apply today – the deadline is June 30, 2014.
Call2Recycle Releases 2013 Annual Report
Call2Recycle released their 2013 Annual Report, which shows that Call2Recycle continues to increase the number of batteries collected through their programs, with collections increasing 12.6% from 2012, resulting in 11.6 million pounds of batteries kept from landfills.
Oregon Paint Stewardship Program Annual Report Released
PaintCare recently revised their Six-Month Report for the 2013 Oregon Paint Stewardship Program (PDF). The report was resubmitted on May 12, 2014 and includes updates on collection, transportation and processing, collection volumes, financial summaries, information about education and outreach and an analysis of environmental costs for July to December 2013.
Dick Lilly, Manager, Waste Prevention and Product Stewardship, Seattle Public Utilities
What was your introduction to product stewardship?
In 2007, the City Council’s Zero Waste Resolution directed Seattle Public Utilities to increase support for the Northwest Product Stewardship Council (my predecessor, Chris Luboff was one of the founders of NWPSC), and to look at both local and state opportunities for producer-funded recycling or producer take-back of products at the end of their useful lives. I had just been assigned to Waste Prevention, following Chris’s retirement, and I began attending NWPSC Steering Committee meetings. It was an “Aha!” time. In short order I came to see legislated “product stewardship” or “extended producer responsibility” (EPR), as a way to fund significant increases in recycling of materials that were not easily managed because like electronics and mercury-containing lighting products they contained toxic materials or like paint and carpet they didn’t fit into our curbside recycling programs.
What intrigues you about PS?
Most intriguing about EPR is the tug and tussle over state legislation among local governments, waste management businesses and product producers. It’s fascinating and, of course, often frustrating. But times like this year when the legislature passed the amendment to the EPR law requiring producers to develop a program for return of mercury-containing (fluorescent) lighting make it also uplifting.
What does PS mean to you?
In a phrase that’s easy to remember, it means “producer-paid recycling.” I think that’s the essence of it, the shift of end-of-life management costs from local solid waste ratepayers to producers – meaning ultimately to the consumers who buy and use various products.
What's your personal product stewardship goal?
I think the expansion of product stewardship (EPR) programs (inevitably through legislation) depends on the development of a strong alliance among local governments and the waste management industry to provide the political clout needed to overcome producer resistance to EPR laws. That’s what I want to see happen.
Anything else you would like to share?
One of the principles of product stewardship is design of products with end-of-life in mind, a fundamental producer responsibility. In other words, a product should be easily recyclable and not automatically something that has to be landfilled because of what it’s made of, or because it’s made of two or three materials that can’t practically and economically be separated for recycling despite their value separately. A lot of new, so-called “flexible packaging” is coming onto the market these days, primarily as packaging for food products. These can be – and usually are – made of layers of more than one kind of plastic and are not today recyclable. These things will end up in the garbage far into the future unless producers start designing products and packaging that take into account how they will be recycled in our current materials management system.
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 email@example.com or visit us at www.ProductStewardship.net.
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