NWPSC January 2021 Newsletter

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January 2021


Washington product stewardship bills (session runs Jan. 11 to April 26):Washington needs producer responsibility (YouTube screen shot)
The Washington Legislature will consider a packaging producer responsibility bill. SB 5022, and its companion HB 1118, concerning the management of certain materials to support recycling and waste and litter reduction, would create a coordinated, transparent statewide system for recycling, processing, and market development that is funded by the producers of packaging and paper products (PPP). The bill would create a circular economy for PPP in Washington, increase the amount of materials that are collected and recycled responsibly, create new markets by requiring producers to use the materials in new products and packaging, enhance the domestic processing infrastructure, reduce greenhouse gases, and create new jobs in Washington. Watch and share about why Washington needs producer responsibility (YouTube). And visit the NWPSC Packaging webpage for more information. 

A Right to Repair bill is also expected to be introduced this session. And SB 5174 would require manufacturers to finance the takeback and recycling of wind turbine blades. Visit Zero Waste Washington to learn more about other legislation.

Oregon product stewardship bills (session runs Jan. 19 to June 28):
The Oregon Legislature will consider packaging producer responsibility. The Recycling Steering Committee (RSC), convened to modernize Oregon's recycling system, resulted in HB 2065, which would require producers of covered products to join a producer responsibility organization, submit a program plan to DEQ, and to reimburse local governments for certain expenses, among other requirements of a statewide EPR system for consumer brands and packaging producers. There is also another packaging EPR bill under consideration, HB 2592.
Other Oregon bills:

  • SB 570 Mattress stewardship
  • HB 2698 Right to Repair
  • HB 2618 Sharps study bill
  • HHW and Batteries stewardship bills are also expected

Programs & News

Companies support EPR to reduce plastic waste
Mars and Unilever are "among companies that have said they would support so-called extended producer responsibility [EPR] rules as part of their broader efforts to reduce plastic waste and use more recycled material in their packaging," according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. "Brand owners have long paid toward the cost of managing their packaging waste in parts of Canada and Europe, and more recently have done so in big emerging markets like India. Companies either pay for packaging recycling programs through umbrella organizations or reimburse municipalities directly. Fees are based on the weight of packaging sold, but also account for the cost of recycling items and the resale value of materials. In the U.S., manufacturers pay toward waste management for just a handful of items, such as paint, batteries and mattresses."

Senator Udall and Representative Lowenthal introduced the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act to the U.S. Congress in 2020, which includes packaging EPR and deposit return systems elements, while Oregon, California, Washington, Massachusetts, and New York have similar producer responsibility bills under consideration.

Electronics EPR program recycles 15 million pounds
In December 2020, the E-Cycle Washington electronics producer responsibility program collected 1.32 million pounds of TVs, computers and monitors for recycling, raising the collection total to 15.17 million pounds (7,585 tons) for 2020, according to the Dept. of Ecology which oversees the manufacturer-run program. While E-Cycle Washington collectors faced many challenges this year due to COVID-19, the program continues to have a robust collection network with 236 locations providing free and convenient drop off, and more than 10 collection events held across the state. Since the electronics producer responsibility program began in 2009, over 425 million pounds of electronics have been recycled.

New Basel Convention rules on plastic waste exports
On Jan. 1, 2021, it became illegal for 187 countries, parties to the Basel Convention, to receive a variety of plastics from the United States. e-Stewards and the Basel Action Network (BAN) hosted a 90-minute January 12 webinar to discuss and explore the implications of the Basel Convention's rules. Plastic was officially added to the Basel Convention in 2019

A joint resolution of the California Legislature calls for the Biden Administration to prioritize ratification of the Basel Convention within the first 100 days. The resolution urges ratification as a "critical step in properly regulating international environmental injustice of plastic dumping on countries without currently having the capacity to properly manage the material." The joint resolution has 10 co-sponsors in the California Senate and Assembly, as well as support from the California Commission on Recycling Markets and Curbside Recycling, the Basel Action Network, the Clean Seas Lobbying Coalition, Environment California, Oceana, the California Product Stewardship Council, the Resource Recovery Coalition of California, TOMRA Systems ASA, and Recology.

Right to Repair and Electronics
A video from Freethink highlights the millions of pounds of electronics discarded each year, the accountability that e-Stewards certified recyclers provide, and how Right to Repair is essential to reducing the increasing volumes of unwanted electronics. Right to Repair bills have had hearings in the Washington Legislature the last three years in a row and another bill is expected this year, as well as in Oregon. Visit The Repair Association for more information on legislation and advocacy.

California Pharmaceutical and Sharps program to begin
California passed Pharmaceutical and Sharps stewardship bill SB 212 in 2018, the first combined law in the U.S., and after a rulemaking period regulations were finalized and went into effect Jan. 7, 2021. The law "established safe and convenient collection and disposal options for covered drugs and home-generated sharps waste," and required producers (manufacturers, distributors, re-packagers, the owner or licensee of a covered product, or importers), to design, fund, and implement stewardship programs for the proper collection and disposal of covered products.

Events & Webinars

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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