NWPSC February Newsletter

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February 2014

Product Stewardship Legislation

Washington Bill Regarding Financing of Recycling for Mercury-containing Lamps – Floor Votes Pending
Substitute House bill – SHB 2246 (Hunt) – passed out of the House Environment Committee on Jan. 31 and was pulled from Rules to the House floor on Feb. 12.
The Senate companion bill – SSB 6177 (Litzow) – passed out of Senate Energy, Environment, and Telecommunications Committee on Feb. 6 and is now in Senate Rules.
These bills must receive floor votes prior to the Legislature's February 18 cut-off date for bills to pass out of their house of origin.

These bills are a negotiated agreement between stakeholders that the lighting industry supports. Passage of SHB 2246 / SSB 6177 will allow Washington State's stewardship law (70.275 RCW) for fluorescent bulbs and tubes to be implemented and adequately financed. These bills will resolve the lighting industry's lawsuit against the state that has delayed program implementation.

Visit the NWPSC's Mercury Activities for more information.

Washington Paint Stewardship Bill Moves Forward in House
The Paint Stewardship bill (SHB 1579) passed out of the House Environment Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 5. On Thursday, Feb. 6, the substitute bill passed out of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Information Technology. The American Coatings Association (ACA) testified in favor of the bill but stated that they are continuing to work with Washington stakeholders to refine the language.
Substitute language that was agreed to between the American Coatings Association (ACA) and Washington Refuse and Recycling Association (WRRA) was incorporated in the bill. SHB 1579 addresses some, but not all, of WRRA's concerns, and has some language that the NWPSC Paint Subcommittee is working to further improve.

Visit the NWPSC's Paint Activities for more information.

Oregon Bill Would Establish List of Priority Chemicals of Concern in Children's Products
SB 1569, introduced into the Oregon legislature on Feb. 3, 2014, would require that manufacturers of children's products containing priority chemicals of concern at or above a "de minimis level" would be required to notify the Oregon Health Authority and provide a variety of details about the toxicity of the product and its uses. SB 1569 authorizes the Oregon Health Authority to enter into reciprocal data sharing agreements with agencies in other states (including Washington) and the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2).

Resources & Reports

New California DTSC Strategic Plan to Hold Producers More Accountable
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) recently released the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, Fixing the Foundation - Building a Plan Forward (PDF). Goal 3 of the plan is to "Reduce adverse public health and environmental impacts from, and exposures to, chemicals used in consumer products." The goal will focus on changing the way products are designed; avoiding product redesigns that replace chemicals of concern with equally or more harmful substitute chemicals; holding manufacturers responsible for the life cycle (i.e from manufacture to disposal) impacts of their products; and maximizing public access to information about chemicals in products.

Oregon Releases E-Cycle Report
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality recently released the Oregon E-Cycles Biennial Report (PDF). The biennial report looks at the successes of the Oregon E-Cycles program since it launched in 2009. Since launch the program has grown to more than 300 collection sites and has recycled more than 27.7 million pounds of electronics.

Upcoming Events

SWANA Zero Waste Conference to Feature Product Stewardship Panels
The Solid Waste Association of North American (SWANA)'s Road to Zero Waste Conference will take place March 24 – 25, 2014 at the Marriott Monterey in Monterey, CA. The conference will include a variety of product stewardship panels and discussions.

Sustainable Packaging Coalition to Hold Spring Conference
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition will hold their spring conference from March 25 – 27, 2014 at the Westin in Seattle, WA. The conference will feature thought leaders from across the entire packaging value chain talking about sustainability solutions.

Product Stewardship in the News

Benefits of EPR Solutions for Packaging & Paper
In Does Packaging and Paper Need Extended Producer Responsibility Laws?, Environmental Leader looks at Recycling Reinvented's recent cost-benefit working paper, which concludes that EPR systems could increase the recycling rate of packaging and printed paper by 32%.

Tetra Pak Director Committed to Taking Recycling to the Next Level
A Commitment to Action: Taking Recycling to the Next Level in the United States, by Elisabeth Comre, Director of Environmental and Government Affairs at Tetra Pak, speaks to Tetra Pak's commitment to improving recycling levels for packaging products. The article argues that new efforts to create organized coalitions of public and private sectors to create scalable and phased recycling systems will leverage resources and lead to more efficient and effective programs.

Associates Spotlight

Chris Piercy, Recycling Coordinator for Kitsap County Public Works Solid Waste Division and NWPSC Steering Committee Member

Chris Piercy of Kitsap County Solid Waste

What was your introduction to product stewardship?
I started my first job in the solid waste industry in 2007 at the Department of Ecology, and was first introduced to product stewardship through the E-cycle Washington program implementation. As a newbie in the industry, I remember thinking what a novel idea it was to have a program in place to fund the collection of a toxic or hard-to-handle product on the front end of the product lifecycle, rather than relying on local governments to fund the necessary systems for collection. After that first introduction to product stewardship, I worked with local governments to incorporate product stewardship initiatives into their comprehensive solid waste management plans. In 2011, I took my current position with Kitsap County, and with that role came a spot on the NWPSC Steering Committee – that was when I really got a glimpse of the efforts behind product stewardship. Witnessing the dedication and drive of my fellow steering committee members really opened my eyes to what product stewardship is, and what it can become.

What intrigues you about product stewardship?
I work for a local government agency, so cost savings (for the rate-payer and the government agency), employee safety, and increased material recovery are my primary motivators. In many cases, product stewardship programs can address all or most of these goals. For instance, since the E-cycle Washington Program was implemented in 2009, residents have been able to dispose of their old electronics at no cost, our transfer station is a much safer place to work without the possibility of a bunch of CRTs on the tipping floor, and millions of pounds of material have been recovered throughout the state that would have likely not been recovered without the legislation.

Even more intriguing is that there are so many other products we can target for similar results. Washington's current mercury lamp collection legislation, when implemented, will save Kitsap County approximately $15,000 every year, improve the collection methodology at our facilities, and expand collection infrastructure beyond the current minimal scale – again, a win, win, win scenario. Similar cases can be made for products like paint, batteries, carpet, mattresses, pharmaceuticals and other difficult to handle wastes.

What does product stewardship mean to you?
In my personal opinion, product stewardship can be summed up as taking care of the disposal costs of a product on the front end of its lifecycle, and having adequate collection infrastructure to make it convenient for the consumer to properly dispose of a product. There is a lot of talk right now in the industry about what the funding mechanisms should look like, but I personally believe the program just needs to be easy to use, and the costs are paid at the point of manufacture or sale.

As part of my job, I also manage Kitsap County's litter and illegal dumping programs, and I can confirm that a great deal of what we find illegally dumped throughout the County are products that are expensive or inconvenient to dispose of. If that cost was paid for upfront, perhaps litter wouldn't be as prevalent? I truly believe that if the consumer buys a product that has already had its entire lifecycle costs paid for, and collection infrastructure is in place, they have no reason to not take advantage of appropriate disposal and recycling opportunities.

What's your personal product stewardship goal?
In the coming years, I would like to see at least a majority of the products the NWPSC is focusing on gain traction in Olympia. Additionally, I think educating the masses about how the product stewardship model works is paramount to building momentum in Olympia. I continue to struggle with the idea that product stewardship remains a partisan issue in Olympia, and perhaps a better understanding of the product stewardship model throughout the citizenry of the state will help break down the partisan walls on the topic.

Anything else you would like to share?
I grew up in Western Washington, but I was fortunate enough to spend four years of my career working for the Department of Ecology in Central Washington. My experience has given me an opportunity to look at issues from both sides of the Cascades, and understand the needs of rural, agricultural, and urban communities. Central Washington and Eastern Washington have a lot to gain from product stewardship programs, and I hope that we continue to see increased interest from o'er them mountains!

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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