NWPSC November 2018 Newsletter

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November 2018

News & Programs

Pushing manufacturers to take responsibility for the waste they generated
Waste 360 interviewed former executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) Heidi Sanborn, who now leads the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC), about her plans to "drive a circular economy beyond California, one state at a time."

"What I learned as [CPSC] grew is how to approach industries to partner on reducing waste from their products. But they learned from us, too, I think, mainly that we will negotiate fairly if someone reaches a hand out to work with us. It makes more sense to work with industry than to work against them, but we need a willing party to negotiate with.
My team and I will support any state or local government or industry in reducing waste and closing the loop on their products... partnering with them and promoting their brand if they voluntarily employ greener designs or takeback programs or working collaboratively on bills that would do the same.
But with manufacturers, if they refuse to work with us, what they run into is that local governments—at least those that have taken action—are now clear on their authority to mandate producers to pay for their waste stream. They can do this with or without state or federal government support.
We are going up the product chain to designers and manufacturers and saying, “We cannot manage everything you are sending through the market. How can you help us close the loop?” That’s a fairly new conversation in the U.S.
...those that reduce waste from their products and take them back for recycling will do better financially and have less regulation..."

Sanborn favorably cited Walgreens, the first large chain retailer to take back medications in their stores, as well as Flame King in Los Angeles for redesigning one-pound propane gas cylinders to be refillable. CPSC promoted refillables and designed a campaign to educate the public on where to buy and refill cylinders. Now there are more than 700 retailers when there were none four years ago.

Supreme Court lets stand California ruling holding lead paint makers responsible for cleanup cost
LA Times, Oct. 15, 2018: "The Supreme Court on Monday dealt a defeat to business groups in a closely watched California case, rejecting appeals of a ruling that requires former makers of lead paint to pay $400 million or more to clean up old homes."
"Business groups fear that the decision will lead to more lawsuits holding producers accountable for harms their products cause. The fear is not unfounded. Municipalities are already seeking compensation from other industries for impacts due to climate change and the opioid crisis... The struggle over who should pay for the impacts of lead paint is a classic case of producer responsibility. The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) encourages all industries to embrace a product stewardship approach, especially for products that pose known threats, before communities are driven to seek compensation for damages." – from PSI's Nov. 2, 2018 newsletter.

British Columbia recovers 75% of packaging and paper productsRecycle BC flex packaging
According to the recent 2017 annual report of British Columbia's producer responsibility organization Recycle BC, they collected more than 174,000 tonnes of packaging and paper product (PPP) in 2017, serving 1.39 million households in 156 communities: a 75% recovery rate. Packaging and paper product (formerly "printed paper") includes paper of any description, such as flyers, brochures, booklets, catalogues, telephone directories, newspapers, magazines, paper fibre, and paper used for copying, writing or any other general use. Recycle BC has also piloted recycling newer hard-to-recycle materials: a May-July pilot of plastic squeeze tubes (toothpaste, moisturizer) and an ongoing pilot as of June for flexible plastic packaging (ziploc pouches, crinkly wrappers and bags, woven and net plastic bags, protective packaging, etc.).

Product stewardship in Washington
Washington state has 4 product stewardship laws. According to the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), California has the most product stewardship laws (9), followed closely by Vermont (8 laws) and Maine (7 laws). Oregon has two programs (paint and electronics) while British Columbia has 12 stewardship programs with more coming soon.

  • LightRecycle, Washington's statewide mercury-containing light product stewardship program, has recycled over 4 million lights since 2015.
  • E-Cycle Washington has recycled over 385 million pounds of electronics, from 300 collection sites, since 2009.
  • Secure Medicine Return drop off kiosks are available in King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties and will expand statewide, under the manufacturer funded and Department of Health overseen Safe Medication Return program, in 2019-2020. Read in the Everett Herald why the solution to the medication problem is "to put the responsibility back in the hands of the pharmaceutical companies," requiring manufacturers to pay for pharmaceutical collection and safe disposal.
  • Photovoltaic Module Stewardship: Manufacturers of solar panels (photovoltaic or "PV" modules) are required to finance a convenient and environmentally sound takeback and recycling system at no cost to the owner of the PV module – by January 2021.

PaintCare awarded for environmental sustainability leadershiplogo of PaintCare
The Northest Recycling Council (NERC) gave PaintCare, the nonprofit stewardship organization of the American Coatings Association, one of its annual awards for statewide collection of paint in four Northeast states: in Connecticut (1.2 million gallons), Maine (326,000 gal.), Rhode Island (305,000 gal.) and Vermont (438,000 gal.) from over 360 locations within 15 miles of more than 95% of households in each state. PaintCare operates paint collection and recycling programs in 8 states and the District of Columbia.

Child car seat recycling
For three months in 2017 in Australia, child car seat manufacturers, automotive associations, local governments, recyclers, and community groups piloted a child car seat recycling program. "The trial successfully explored collection issues and tested the feasibility of a product stewardship model to improve car seat recycling: over 10 tonnes were processed, with a recovery rate of 82%," according the Global Product Stewardship Council. The Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group case study (PDF) concluded that "the trial demonstrates that manufacturers, automobile associations and service providers can see the broader sustainability benefits of a collaborative approach to managing the impacts associated with end-of-life products... there was public willingness to contribute to the costs of recycling provided this was built into the price of a new seat, and accompanied by information on where and how to drop-off worn or unwanted seats."

Upcoming Events

  • Carpet Stewardship in California: a case study for other states (webinar): November 7, 9-10:30am Pacific
  • Paint Stewardship 101 (webinar): November 14, 11:30am-1pm Pacific
  • Best Practices for Sharps Take Back Programs (webinar): November 29, 7:30-9am Pacific
  • Washington State Recycling Association Fall Policy Forum: December 5, 9am-12pm Pacific, Federal Way, WA

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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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