NWPSC January Newsletter

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January 2014

Product Stewardship Legislation

E-Cycle WA Turns Five infographicWashington

 Paint Stewardship Bill: The Paint Stewardship Bill (SB 5424 / HB 1579 in 2013) heard last year in the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment & Telecommunications is still an active bill.  A hearing was held in the House Environment Committee on January 15th. The bill would require producers selling paint in Washington to finance a take back and recycling program for unwanted architectural paint that would be overseen by the Department of Ecology. Paint stewardship programs are established in Oregon, California and Connecticut and legislation has passed in Rhode Island, Maine, Minnesota and Vermont.

 Mercury Lights Stewardship Law Amendment:  An amendment to the 2010 Mercury-containing lights law 70.275 RCW has been introduced. The bills (SB 6177 / HB 2246) propose to finance the end-of-life management of  mercury-containing lamps through an environmental handling change added to the purchase price of lamps sold in the state.  The 2010 law has not been implemented due to a lawsuit over financing issues. 


The Oregon Legislature is scheduled for February 3 to March 9.


Recycling Analysis – EPR Cost-Benefit Study by Recycling Reinvented
Recycling Reinvented released the second of three working papers, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Cost-Benefit Study Working Paper #2: Recycling Analysis (PDF), as part of a study to help better understand and evaluate the possible impacts of implementing a state-level EPR system for consumer packaging and printed paper (PPP) in the U.S. This second working paper shows that "a model system could achieve significant improvements in recycling rates at similar costs to current programs, while taking the financial burden for administration off cash-strapped local governments."


It Takes a Network to Keep Recycling Healthy
According to Waste Management's CEO David Steiner, keeping recycling healthy and viable takes more than just sorting materials from the bin. In a Dec. 30, 2013 Waste 360 column, Steiner asserts that the "producers of materials, the consumers who buy them, the residents and businesses who use them, the companies who collect them, the purchasers of recovered materials, the re-users, and the governments who regulate and participate in this process all create a recycling network." He also notes the challenges presented by the rapidly changing waste stream's dramatic reduction in the use of newspaper combined with the explosion of various types of plastics packaging. Watch video of Steiner's discussion with CNBC and read more in Resource Recycling's reporting on Waste Management.

EPR and Ecodesign
Two French Senators recently called on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs to do more to promote ecodesign. There are currently 16 EPR laws active in France, covering packaging, electronic waste, furniture, paper and more. The Senators expressed concerns that the programs do not provide enough incentives for environmentally-friendly product design changes and have suggested covering additional products, re-introducing deposit systems, and increasing control against free riders.

Product Policy Institute Becomes UPSTREAM
The Product Policy Institute (PPI), founded over ten years ago, changed their name to UPSTREAM on December 18, 2013. The name change reflects their new priority in engaging the public around product stewardship. UPSTREAM is a national environmental organization dedicated to creating a healthy, sustainable and equitable society by addressing the root causes of waste. Visit upstreampolicy.org for more information.

Upcoming Events

PSI Webinar: the Road to Rubber Recycling: Product Stewardship for Tires
On Feb. 19, 10:30am-12pm Pacific, join this Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) webinar with some of the foremost experts on rubber tire production, recycling, and product stewardship.



Associates Spotlight

Jeanette Brizendine, Solid Waste & Recycling Project Manager for the City of Federal Way

Jeanette Brizendine of the City of Federal Way

What was your introduction to product stewardship?
My introduction to product stewardship was through the Northwest Product Stewardship Council tour to Vancouver, B.C. in 2007. I appreciate how British Columbia set up their system where the government provides the basic framework and environmental outcomes and the industry focuses on operations. This allows for, and encourages, the industry to take a step back to consider upstream innovations that will save money on disposal downstream.

What intrigues you about PS?
My experience with working with the public is that their consumption is personal, but recycling/disposal is something that should be provided. Residents and businesses seem to get fixated on the cost of recycling and seem to ignore the savings provided by avoiding other disposal options. I have had numerous conversations with people who don't think it’s fair that they have to pay to recycle (fill in the blank with an item of your choosing), and aren't bothered by throwing it away since garbage service is seen as a regular, on-going cost. Whether or not our industry has perpetuated this attitude through embedded recycling or we have embedded recycling to overcome the barriers of the public is irrelevant. What matters is accepting that making end of life disposal of hard-to-manage products "free" will best meet product stewardship diversion goals.

Product stewardship shifts the burden of special handling and disposal of hard-to-manage products from local governments and taxpayers to manufacturers and consumers of products. Since these costs are paid up front, there is no need to spend time and money “convincing” the public to pay for disposal. Also, by incorporating the disposal costs into the new product when purchasing, this future disposal burden is lifted for those who choose used items or who receive hand-me-downs.

What does PS mean to you?
For me, product stewardship is about fairness. The manufacturers and users of hard-to-manage products should be responsible for their products during the entire life-cycle. The government (and therefore the taxpayers) should not be burdened with these costs. Product stewardship also utilizes the strengths of each sector; let the government focus on framework and compliance and let the industry focus on their products.

What's your personal PS goal?
It would be so nice to have manufacturers willingly take cradle-to-grave responsibility for their products. While there is a direct cost to the businesses for shifting the financial responsibility from government to manufacturers, it would be relatively nominal and would encourage new innovations that render the product either more recyclable or non-toxic. The employees and stockholders of these businesses are ultimately taxpayers, so they end up paying for disposal of hard-to-manage items one way or another. Wouldn’t it be great if they stepped up to encourage and support these programs and made them more efficient?.

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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