NWPSC January 2017 Newsletter

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January 2017


The Washington Legislature Regular Session began Jan. 9 and Oregon's Legislative Session is Feb. 1 to July 9, 2017.

Washington state considers Paint and Medicine stewardship bills
While their hearings have not yet been scheduled, the Washington legislature will consider two bills related to product stewardship:

  • HB 1376 concerning paint stewardship
  • HB 1047 protecting the public's health by creating a system for safe and secure collection and disposal of unwanted medications


Secure Medicine Return in King Countymedicine take back
As of January 2017, King County residents now have a safe and convenient way to dispose of unwanted medicines: participating pharmacies, clinics, hospitals and law enforcement offices will accept most prescription and over-the-counter medicines for disposal. The Secure Medicine Return program is ongoing and funded by the drug companies that sell medicines into King County. There is no cost to residents to dispose of medicines using the program — find a location near you.

California rejects CARE's carpet stewardship plan
In a December 2016 public meeting, CalRecycle rejected the carpet industry's stewardship plan and is pursuing enforcement actions. Resource Recycling covered the challenges in current carpet recycling markets and the industry's failure to meeting recycling goals. California is the only state with an extended producer responsibility (EPR) law for carpet; Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the carpet manufacturing industry association charged with operating California's carpet stewardship program, "collects fees paid by consumers when they purchase new carpet and provides subsidies to the recycling industry." CARE recently announced the introduction of Quiet-Tech insulation, "offering superior sound absorption and noise reduction between wall-separated workspaces" and containing 85% recycled materials from recycled carpet, cotton and PET fibers.

LightRecycle Washington plan update
The Washington State Mercury-Containing Lights Product Stewardship Plan has been updated. LightRecycle allows individuals and businesses to recycle up to 10 mercury-containing lights per day at over 220 collection sites throughout Washington – find a location near you. LightRecycle is a manufacturer operated product stewardship program run by PCA Product Stewardship, a nonprofit, and overseen by the Washington Department of Ecology under the state's mercury lights law.

News & Resources

The Power of Local Governments: Product Stewardship Councils
Passing a strong extended producer responsibility (EPR) law – whether at the state or local level – starts with building multi-stakeholder support, including from industry, state and local governments, organizations, and legislators. In nearly 20 states across the country, product stewardship councils, or groups of local government representatives working to reduce the environmental and public health impacts of consumer products, are a key conduit to building critical local support needed to pass effective, strong EPR bills across a wide variety of product categories. In this Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) webinar on January 19 (11am-12:30pm Pacific), leaders from the New York, Vermont, Nebraska and Illinois product stewardship councils will share key tactics to building strong coalitions, important strategies for gaining momentum, and the most successful laws or initiatives they have pursued through their product stewardship councils. This webinar is free to any governments, regardless of membership in PSI.

EPR, product design, and the circular economy

  • A report by a British think tank urged the introduction of extended producer responsibility (EPR) as the key to boosting recycling in England. Materials Recycling World wrote about the report that "producers should take responsibility for most of the cost of collections because they have the greatest ability to influence product design," suggesting that "producers that design less wasteful packaging, use recycled materials and encourage customers to recycle" be rewarded and "companies failing to do this would pay more."
  • In Design Engineering, Electronic Products Stewardship Canada said that reducing recycling costs "begins with designers... and design principles that make it easier to dismantle end-of-life" products.
  • Resource Recycling covered a recent Product Stewardship Institute webinar (PDF) where Unilever Canada said that "for an EPR program to be successful, it should be implemented on a regional scale as opposed to the state or municipal level." In EPR systems, "the companies that manufacture products and packaging are held responsible for financing and managing end-of-life concerns for those goods."
  • A recent policy paper by Zero Waste Europe outlined "the main challenges of current EPR schemes and the solutions to make EPR a key tool for the circular economy." The policy paper asserted that "EPR, if used well, can be one of the cornerstones of the transition towards a circular economy. It is a tool that has the potential to provide economic incentives for producers to better design their products, while better implementing the polluter pays principle and penalizing non-circular products."
  • Circular economy investors Closed Loop Partners wrote in GreenBiz why "2017 will be the year of the circular economy", writing that "recycling is the feedstock of U.S. manufacturing growth."

Electronics recycling could be richer source of metals than ore from the ground
In an article in the Vancouver Sun, researchers at the University of British Columbia recovered copper, silver, and rare earth metals from LED (light emitting diode) lights recycled "using techniques like the ones employed by the mining industry" to finely grind them up. British Columbia's LightRecycle product stewardship program run by ReGeneration recycles "all lights, lamps, fixtures and ballasts used in residential, institutional, commercial and industrial applications" including LEDs, incandescent lights, and halogens, as well as mercury-containing fluorescent and HID lights.

Upcoming Events

  • The Story and Highlights of Oregon's 2050 Vision of Materials Management (webinar): Jan. 19, 2017, 10-11:30am Pacific
  • The Power of Local Governments: Product Stewardship Councils (webinar): Jan. 19, 11am-12:30pm Pacific
  • Materials Management in Oregon update (webinar & meeting): Jan. 26, 1-3pm Pacific

Engage with the Northwest Product Stewardship Counciltwitter icon 30x30
Add your voice and join the Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC) as an Associate, Steering, or Community member.
Follow the NWPSC on Twitter (@StewardshipNW) for product stewardship information from Washington, Oregon and elsewhere.

Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC)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 info@productstewardship.net or visit us at www.ProductStewardship.net.

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