NWPSC December 2018 Newsletter

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December 2018


EPR: how to save money while improving our solid waste systems
An October 2018 report from Canada's Ecofiscal Commission found "that policy changes can make our waste systems—from product manufacturing to waste disposal—more efficient and less costly. The key to an efficient waste management system is getting incentives right and relying more on market-based policies."
"Municipalities should charge residents and businesses according to the waste they create" (pay-as-you-throw) and tipping fees should "reflect the full cost of the service for businesses."
At the same time, "governments should expand, reform, and harmonize extended producer responsibility [EPR] programs," making manufacturers accountable for managing the waste that comes from their products, and improving "the efficiency of recycling programs while also creating incentives to produce goods that generate less waste or goods that can more easily be recycled."

Should manufacturers have to pay more recycling costs?
BBC, November 25: The British government's "long-awaited resource and waste strategy... is expected to force manufacturers, retailers and supermarkets to pay significantly more towards recycling their waste.
According to reports, one of the key elements of the plan will be to put far greater emphasis on making manufacturers pay for the recycling of their own waste packaging.
If packaging is more resource-efficient, and cheaper to dispose of at the end of its life, then producers will pay less towards disposal. If it contains a high proportion of virgin raw materials and is less recyclable, then they will pay more.
Part of what's driving this approach is the EU circular economy package... signed off by the European Commission earlier this year," which will apply from 2019.

EPR is a cornerstone to effective recycling
John Coyne of the Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance (CSSA), in the The Chronicle Herald (Canada): Extended producer responsibility (EPR) "has become an established part of environmental policy in a number of Canadian provinces, making producers responsible for the life cycle of their products, relieving the financial burden on municipalities for waste management and reducing the amount of material destined for the waste stream. Under EPR, obligated businesses become stewards who register with a program, report their quantities of designated materials and pay fees to cover recycling system collection and processing costs.
CSSA helps businesses across Canada meet their provincial recycling obligations... Notably, each of these programs provides exemptions to smaller businesses based on annual revenue and the tonnes of material supplied to consumers in the province.
In addition to providing administrative harmonization across various programs, CSSA creates tools that simplify reporting for small businesses, such as calculators that help determine the amount of materials supplied. CSSA strongly believes that EPR is an essential cornerstone to effective recycling and it provides a strong catalyst for business efficiency and opportunity. EPR can also create a more relevant incentive to design products and packaging that have less impact on the environment.
We believe that making businesses operationally responsible avoids a simple “offloading” of municipal costs by offering a different approach and better outcomes."

The Plastic Backlash
A long read in the Nov. 13 Guardian detailed the history of plastic and recycling in light of recent events: "a loose alliance of oil and chemical companies, along with drinks and packaging manufacturers, pursued a two-part strategy that would successfully defuse anti-plastic sentiment for a generation. The first part of the strategy was to shift responsibility for litter and waste from companies to consumers. Rather than blaming the companies that had promoted disposable packaging and made millions along the way, these same companies argued that irresponsible individuals were the real problem. This argument was epitomised by a 1965 editorial in a US packaging trade journal headlined “Guns Don’t Kill People”, which blamed “the litterbugs who abuse our countryside” rather than the manufacturers themselves."

Canada aspires to achieve zero plastic waste
Waste Dive, November 27: "The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) announced plans for a nationwide "zero-plastic-waste strategy" and to reduce kilogram per capita waste 30% by 2030 and 50% by 2040."

Bottle bill reduces litter
In almost one year since starting a container deposit scheme (also known as a "bottle bill" or deposit return system), residents of New South Wales (Australia) "have returned more than 900 million cans and bottles.
It is hoped the scheme will reduce litter by 40% by 2020... If we compare [litter from] September 2017 to September 2018, we went from an average of 20 containers per 1,000 metres down to around six." (via Reloop Platform)

German packaging law
Packaging Europe, November 14: When the German Packaging Law comes into effect on January 1, 2019, the new legislation will set down binding rules to increase recycling quotas and levy higher fees for packaging which is difficult to recycle (via Reloop Platform).

Manufacturers attack right to repair their products
Los Angeles Times, November 16: "preventing owners from fixing or upgrading devices on which they’ve spent hundreds or thousands of dollars has fueled the right-to-repair movement, which saw measures safeguarding this right introduced this year in about 20 states. None passed...
In the old days, the television repairman was a popular member of American society — the guy who would come to your house, stick his hands in the innards of any manufacturer's TV set and find the burned-out tubes needing replacement. Our throwaway culture has made such figures into historical relics, at our expense and at the price of filling landfills with mountains of electronic trash. The right to repair movement wants to bring them back, and neither Apple nor Amazon should be permitted to get in its way."
A Vermont task force recently met to consider right to repair legislation.

LightRecycle Washington updatelogo of LightRecycle Washington
From January through September 2018, Washingtonians recycled over 950,000 mercury-containing lights, weighing more than 450,000 pounds, via LightRecycle Washington. LightRecycle, a manufacturer operated product stewardship program run by nonprofit PCA Product Stewardship Inc. and overseen by the Washington Department of Ecology, allows individuals and businesses to recycle up to 10 mercury-containing lights per day at sites throughout Washington – find a location near you.

Job: California Product Stewardship Council
The California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) seeks to grow their team of five and hire a Program Manager.

Upcoming Events

  • Advanced Paint Stewardship (webinar): December 10, 8:30-10am Pacific
  • Return of the Refillables in the U.S. (webinar): December 13, 10am Pacific

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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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