NWPSC December 2017 Newsletter

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December 2017

Legislation & Programs

The Washington Legislature regular session begins Jan. 8, 2018 and Oregon's Legislative session begins Feb. 5 – both are expected to consider product stewardship legislation this year.
As this is the second year of the Washington legislature's biennium, last year's bills remain active. HB 1376, concerning paint stewardship, which passed out of the House Environment Committee in February 2017 and has the support of the paint industry and local governments, will be heard again.

Two more county medicine stewardship ordinances in Washingtonunwanted medicines
By 2018, 60% of Washington’s population will have access to safe medicine disposal, according to Zero Waste Washington’s press release on medicine stewardship. The Clallam County Board of Health passed a Secure Medicine Return ordinance (PDF) in November and Whatcom County did the same in December. These ordinances require manufacturers to create, fund, and administer secure medicine return, or medicine stewardship, programs in Clallam and Whatcom counties. Manufacturers must submit a stewardship plan to each county for approval within six months of the date of ordinance adoption (Nov. 21, 2017 for Clallam and Dec. 5, 2017 for Whatcom). Once counties approve the plans, manufacturers have three months in which they must begin operating or participating in a stewardship plan. The Secure Medicine Return regulations are similar to those passed in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Right to Repair bill in Washington legislature
The Repair Association plans to put forward a "Right to Repair" bill in January 2018: Concerning the fair servicing and repair of digital electronic products. Rep. Jeff Morris of Bellingham submitted this bill in the House (pre-session, code reviser version (PDF)), which would require manufacturers of electronic equipment to sell repair parts and release service information to consumers. This would "broaden access to the information and tools necessary for repair of digital electronic products, reduce unnecessary disposal, increase consumer control over their own devices, and support a competitive repair market and the increased availability of remanufactured or repaired advanced electronics to create lower cost entry points for consumers to own advanced electronics." Similar legislation has been introduced in 12 other states and is supported by farm groups, non-profit and for-profit recyclers, small business groups, charities, fix-it clinics, appliance repair shops, and locksmiths. Right to Repair laws made headlines in 2017.

Mattress stewardship programs and illegal dumping
The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) stewardship organization, which operates programs in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and California, recently completed first year annual reports for all three programs and changed the mattress recycling fee consumers pay at the point of purchase. Highlights from MRC California's first year (2016) annual report:

  • MRC received 955,059 units and diverted 29,090,484 pounds of material from disposal.
  • MRC established 122 collection sites and held 50 collection events, while MRC's contracted recyclers also operated 11 recycling facilities.
  • MRC created the California Illegally Dumped Mattress Collection Initiative to compensate participating local governments, solid waste facilities, or solid waste operations for managing illegally dumped mattresses, and to collect baseline data to measure the impact of these efforts on reducing illegal mattress dumping in the state.
    • In 2016, this initiative collected 23,794 illegally dumped units from 40 participants located throughout 29 counties
    • More than 26,000 units have been collected in 2017 and more than 90 sites joined the initiative

For more information, visit the MRC website.

News & Resources

First solar stewardship law in U.S. – learn more at January 4 webinar
In 2017, Washington passed ESSB 5939, the Solar Incentives Job Bill, the first law in the nation to require manufacturers to manage and finance the safe recycling of solar units at end of life, at no cost to the owner of the product. The stewardship requirement is part of larger bill that incentivizes solar unit ownership and creates solar jobs locally. The stewardship requirement states that manufacturers who sell solar units in the state of Washington after July 1, 2017, are responsible for financing and providing a recycling program for their units. Manufacturers who do not provide a recycling program cannot sell solar modules after Jan. 1, 2021. 
On Jan. 4, 2018, the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) will host a webinar with expert speakers. Northwest Product Stewardship Council member Sego Jackson of Seattle Public Utilities and legislative champion of the product stewardship section of the Solar Incentives Job Bill Representative Norma Smith will speak, along with solar panel recycler Advanced Technology and European solar stewardship organization PV Cycle. Register before January 4.

Canadian electronics stewardship program expands to include microwaves
Of the 23 states which have electronics stewardship programs, none cover the recycling of microwaves, including neither E-Cycle Washington nor Oregon E-Cycles. Yet the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, according to Resource Recycling, will expand in May 2018 the list of device types it accepts for electronics recycling, from "TVs and monitors, computers and peripherals, office phones, home audio and video systems, desktop printers, personal audio/video players and vehicle audio/video systems," to add "countertop microwave ovens, scanners, floor-standing printers, external storage drives and modems, game consoles and peripherals, e-book readers and GPS devices." In contrast, E-Cycle Washington accepts TVs, computers, computer monitors, laptops, tablets, E-readers, and portable DVD players, while Oregon E-Cycles accepts computers (desktops, laptops, and tablets), monitors, TVs, printers, keyboards and mice.

Upcoming Events

  • Pharmacy-based drug take-back: fact and fiction (webinar): Dec. 19, 2017
  • Solar Panel Stewardship: the Future is Now (webinar): Jan. 4, 2018

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Add your voice and join the Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC) as an Associate, Steering, or Community member.
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