NWPSC Summer 2016 Newsletter

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Summer 2016


Secure Medicine Return in King County
Starting in January 2017, a new program is expected to be available throughout King County that will safely collect and dispose of unwanted household medicines. Residents will be able to dispose of their unwanted medicines at a participating pharmacy or law enforcement office, at a collection event, or using mail-back services. Operated by MED-Project LLC and funded by 372 participating drug producers, information for collection locations and other services will be provided on the Secure Medicine Return website as collection becomes available in each city, town and unincorporated community service area.

Secure Medicine Return in Snohomish County
On June 14, 2016, the Board of Health of the Snohomish Health District adopted an ordinance to establish a convenient secure medicine return system for residents that:

  • Expands safe medicine disposal options for Snohomish County residents to reduce risks of misuse, poisonings, and overdoses from leftover and expired medicines, and reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals entering sewer, septic, and solid waste systems.
  • Improves convenience for residents by expanding locations of secure drop boxes from law enforcement offices to pharmacies and hospitals, as now allowed under DEA regulations.
  • Ensures financial sustainability through a pharmaceutical industry-financed system providing sufficient resources to promote the program and handle larger volumes of returned medicines, and that relieves burdens on local government agencies and taxpayers.

The regulation is a product stewardship policy where the manufacturers of the medicines sold in Snohomish county are required to finance and coordinate the secure medicine return system. Residents cannot be required to pay a fee for this service when purchasing or returning medicines. Medicine producers will develop and submit a stewardship plan that meets the regulation's requirements no later than 6 months after the date the regulation was adopted, and producers must begin operation of the stewardship plan no later than 3 months after the plan is approved by the Snohomish Health District. Stat covered the ordinance's passage as well as the status of a similar ordinance in Los Angeles County.

News & Resources

Oregon beverage container deposit increases
Oregon, the first state to launch a beverage container deposit program in 1972, will on April 1, 2017, raise the 5-cent deposit to 10 cents, according to Resource Recycling:

Under state law, the hike was triggered because Oregon experienced two consecutive years in which the redemption rate came in below 80%.... The 2015 redemption rate was 64.5%, and the 2014 rate was 68.3%... Oregon's bottle bill today includes a variety of drinks in containers holding three liters or less, including carbonated soft drinks, waters and malt beverages. In 2018, juices, teas, coffees and sport drinks will be added to the program, although wine, liquor and milk drinks will still be excluded... The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC), the industry group managing the vast majority of the state's container redemptions, expects the 10-cent deposit to increase redemptions.

Resource Recycling also notes that "Michigan is the only state with a 10-cent deposit across a wide swath of container types, although California places a 10-cent deposit on containers holding 24 ounces or more. Oregon's other neighboring states of Washington, Idaho and Nevada lack deposit programs."

Job: Division Director Solid Waste Planning and Programming
The City of Seattle is hiring a Planning and Programming Division Director in Seattle Public Utilities; the position reports to the Deputy Director, Solid Waste Line of Business, and is open until filled.

Take responsibility for electronic-waste disposal
An article in Nature ("Take responsibility for electronic-waste disposal") by academics from China and the U.K. argues that "international cooperation is needed to stop developed nations simply offloading defunct electronics on developing countries." The authors propose that a "global approach to managing the volume and flow of e-waste is urgently needed... an international protocol on e-waste; funding for technology transfer; firmer national legislation on imports and exports; and greater awareness of the problem among consumers." They conclude that it is "time for consumers, researchers, manufacturers, nations and international regulators to direct some of the passion and creativity they have for new gadgets towards responsibly dealing with old ones."

Analyzing drop-off recycling: Zero Waste Washington
In 2015, Zero Waste Washington surveyed residents just after they recycled their electronics at 13 E-Cycle Washington participating locations in the Puget Sound region to determine how common it is to carry out additional errands when dropping off electronics for reuse or recycling. The report on this study, Trip Assessment for Drop-Off Recycling in the Puget Sound Area of Washington State (PDF), concludes that most survey participants, about 72%, completed or expected to complete at least one other task in addition to drop-off recycling, and that about 13% of respondents were planning to make or had already made a purchase at the drop-off recycling location.

Webinar recordings
Watch recordings of or browse slidedecks from recent product stewardship related webinars:

Upcoming Events

  • Setting Goals: have we reached the limits of recycling? (webinar): Aug. 16, 2016, 11am-12pm Pacific
  • The Real Truth about EPR – conference session at Waste360 Recycling Summit: Sept. 20, 4-5:10pm, Austin, TX
  • North American Hazardous Materials Management Association (NAHMMA) annual conference: Oct. 10-14, Portland, OR
  • Paint Recycling: more fun than watching it dry (workshop): Dec. 1, 2016 9am-3:30pm, Vancouver, WA

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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