NWPSC December Newsletter

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December 2013

Product Stewardship Jobs

The Northwest Product Stewardship Council is looking for a Washington Coordinator
PRR, a full service marketing agency in Seattle, WA, is looking for a skilled communications professional to be the Washington Coordinator for the Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC), a coalition of government organizations in Washington and Oregon. This person will act as the chief coordinator of the NWPSC and will provide fully dedicated support to the Washington Steering Committee members as directed in the NWPSC Strategic Plan and Scope of Work. The coordinator will work with the NWPSC Steering Committee and others as appropriate to strengthen the council and increase its effectiveness in promoting product stewardship and extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies in Washington State. Apply and view the full job description and requirements.

The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) seeks a Marketing Communications Coordinator
PSI is hiring a Marketing Communications Coordinator to assist with market development and strengthen client retention rates through targeted outreach efforts and related support activities. This position reports to the Director of Communications and Marketing.

Product Stewardship Programs

E-Cycle Washington Hits Milestone: 2 Million Pounds Recycled!
The E-Cycle Washington program has grown into one of the nation's leading electronics recycling programs. Now in its fifth year of operations, E-Cycle Washington, financed and operated by manufacturers of TVs and computers, has transformed the collection and recycling of unwanted electronics in Washington state.
E-Cycle Washington's producer responsibility approach means that manufacturers pay for recycling costs and incorporate them into the costs of their products. The result is greater economic and environmental benefits at a lower cost to consumers and governments. It's a more efficient system since the companies that make the products are now financing the system that recycles them. Some facts:

  • The program saves $4 million annually by lowering costs to $0.10 per pound recycled
  • No end-of-life fee means that small businesses, schools and non-profits can now recycle at no cost when the product is returned for recycling: before E-Cycle Washington they often paid as much as $50 per item
  • E-Cycle Washington is good for our economy: the program has created 125 jobs since its inception and Washington is now home to 7 electronics processors, employing hundreds of people
  • 330 convenient drop-off locations are available for Washington citizens, creating revenue for local businesses

Visit eCycleWashington.org for more information or to find a location near you.

Upcoming Events

Regional Paint Stewardship Coalition Meetings
PSI continues its work with the American Coatings Association (ACA) and PaintCare to assist in the passage of new paint stewardship laws, the implementation of current laws in seven states, and the regional and national harmonization of paint stewardship programs. As part of this work, PSI will hold a Northeast regional meeting on December 3 in Boston and a Midwest regional meeting in mid-January (date and location to be determined). Participants will discuss key issues related to implementing paint stewardship programs in states with laws already in place, as well as how to expand the paint stewardship model to states that do not yet have laws.

Six Classes of Chemicals of Concern - webinar
Each Tuesday until Dec. 10, 2013, join this series of webinars about six families or "classes" of chemicals which contain many of the harmful substances found in everyday products, brought to you by the Green Science Policy Institute. Instead of worrying about tens of thousands of untested chemicals, learn from distinguished scientists who are outstanding teachers about six classes containing many of the bad actor chemicals in consumer products. The series will move towards solutions and explore green chemistry alternatives.

Shining a Light on Mercury Lamps: Strategies for Safe Recycling of Used Fluorescent Bulbs - webinar
On Dec. 11, the Product Stewardship Institute hosts a webinar on producer responsibility for mercury lamps. After providing an overview of the successes and challenges of establishing voluntary fluorescent lamp take-back programs in Nebraska, the webinar will highlight lessons learned from the three states that have taken a producer responsibility approach for managing these toxic products. Speakers include Maine DEP, Chittenden SWD, Kara Steward of the Washington State Department of Ecology, and PSI. Part of the Product Stewardship Institute webinar series.

CalRecycle: A Conversation About Packaging - Opportunities and Challenges - webinar
Join CalRecycle on Dec. 12, 9am - 4:45pm Pacific, for a conversation to explore the role of packaging in meeting California's statewide goal of 75% source reduction, recycling, and composting by 2020. This workshop will focus on using the group's collective knowledge and expertise to share ideas about opportunities and challenges when discussing this immense category of materials.

Associates Spotlight

Signe Gilson, CleanScapes Zero Waste Manager

Signe Gilson of CleanScapes

What was your introduction to product stewardship?
The Oregon bottle bill was my introduction to product stewardship. In 1971, the bottle bill was a partial solution to a litter problem. Now, 43 years later, modern and sophisticated product stewardship programs provide much greater benefits.

In 2005, at Seattle Public Utilities I worked briefly on a two-state electronics product stewardship effort that was set aside when the E-Cycle Washington legislation passed. This experience sold me on the value of product stewardship. It can be a complicated system to set up but the benefits of the E-Cycle program, as an example, were quickly realized and widely recognized. I think it's a great starting place for other products.

Since joining CleanScapes in 2006, two more things became really clear to me. First, people create a lot of garbage! CleanScapes collects roughly 625 tons of garbage every weekday from the 5 cities we serve, and according to the Product Policy Institute, 75% of it likely consists of unwanted consumer products and packaging.

Second, product stewardship is a great improvement over past disposal practices when it comes to managing difficult materials and products containing hazardous components. At CleanScapes, my job is to partner with the cities we serve to achieve their waste reduction and recycling goals. I appreciate the ongoing work of city staff, the County and other organizations such as the NW Product Stewardship Council as they evaluate product stewardship models and products. It makes my job easier and nudges the solid waste industry forward.

What intrigues you about PS?
I love the history behind product stewardship, the opportunities it creates and the simplicity of the concept. One hundred years ago, local governments took on trash disposal to solve a public health problem. Materials collected back then consisted primarily of ash, spoiled food, animal waste and small amounts of paper and glass.

Now that most "garbage" consists of discarded manufactured products and their packaging, product stewardship solutions tailored to specific products offer intriguing public benefits such as:

  • Safe and convenient collection, recycling and disposal of products containing heavy metals and other hazardous components, thereby reducing human and animal exposure to these elements.
  • Distribution of disposal costs beyond the general tax base, allowing producers and consumers to more directly contribute to the cost of disposal and recycling.
  • A financial incentive for product and packaging manufacturers to design recyclable, reusable and more durable products and packaging.
  • Local jobs in recycled products manufacturing using high quality feedstock from materials processed at local MRFs.

What does PS mean to you?
To me, product stewardship means progress. Progress toward a more sophisticated, equitable and environmentally sound method for handling unwanted consumer products. It means that elected officials and City and County staff have another tool for increasing diversion, reducing illegal dumping, removing toxic materials from the waste stream and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It also means that MRFs will become more efficient and the public can trust that their recyclables are being recycled. When CleanScapes' new MRF opens in early 2014 it will process curbside materials and commercial recyclables with new equipment, advanced processing technology and ample capacity. However, even the latest technology and processing equipment can't handle toxic materials in a safe manner, prevent cross contamination, separate the layers of multi-laminate packaging or keep glass shards from clinging to paper products thereby decreasing the paper's value to local paper mills. Product stewardship is a great tool that can address these and other challenges facing MRF operators.

Product stewardship also means that cities will more quickly meet their waste reduction and diversion goals. As a result, solid waste companies, including CleanScapes, will collect less garbage and possibly fewer tons of recyclables. The challenge for the solid waste industry is to make this equation pencil out. Some in the industry may be uncomfortable with this challenge but I find it hard to imagine that a strong partnership with our customers – focused on waste reduction and safe disposal – is anything but a winning strategy for our cities, the environment, long-term business opportunities and the future.

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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