NWPSC Summer 2014 (July / August) Newsletter

Header V1

Header V1

Summer 2014 (July / August)

Product Stewardship Programs

E-Cycle Washington Collection Numbers Continue to Rise
In June 2014 the E-Cycle Washington program collected 4.39 million pounds of TVs, computers, and monitors for recycling, 571,000 more than June 2013. Collection numbers for the year are at 21.92 million pounds – or 98.4% of the total volume collected through June 2013. Detailed collection numbers by county are now available (PDF).

Product Stewardship in the News

Dell introduces First Computer Made from Recycled Electronics
Dell announced that in July they will begin selling their first computer (the OptiPlex 3030 all-in-one) made with plastic recycled from old electronics. With this announcement, Dell is launching its pilot for a closed-loop recycling of plastics – turning plastic from old electronic products into new ones rather than dumping them into the usual e-waste cycle.

Modern Waste is an Economic Strategy
A recent article in Discard Studies discusses how modern waste has changed over centuries. About 1/3 of municipal solid waste – food scraps, yard trimmings – was present in pre-modern waste. The rest of modern MSW are disposables: paper, plastics, aluminum, textiles and packaging. According to the author, designing products that are disposal and “recyclable” is industry’s way of externalizing costs and maximizing profit: “Industry champions recycling because if a company has reusable bottles, for example, it has to pay for those bottles to return, but if it makes cheap disposables, municipalities pick up the bill for running them to the landfill or recycling station. The money industry saves can translate into profit because waste costs are “externalized” into the public realm... Externalization is integral to profit.” (via UPSTREAM)

Tailoring Product Stewardship/EPR to Prevent Marine Plastic Pollution
Leila Monroe, in the Tulane Environmental Law Journal, discusses how to utilize product stewardship and extended producer responsibility (EPR) as policy approaches to deal with and prevent marine plastic pollution. Monroe notes that “plastic waste now contaminates marine and fresh water ecosystems around the globe with serious consequences for marine life and possible grave consequences for the food chain and human health… According to one recent estimate, twenty million tons of plastic waste enters the marine environment every year.” With the rise of plastic pollution in the marine environment, Monroe recommends that law makers, advocates, and producers craft PS/EPR programs for marine pollution which consider:

  • explicit aquatic waste reduction program goals
  • incentives to motivate product design improvements that reduce negative environmental impacts
  • incorporation of the costs of the entire set of activities necessary to manage products, beyond just recycling or product take-back
  • monitoring and assessment of the extent to which programs and activities achieve a quantifiable reduction in marine plastic pollution
  • requiring reporting data by producers of plastic about the quantity of plastic packaging produced, the quantity delivered to market, and the quantity recovered for recycling

Monroe concludes that “Without enhanced information and a more holistic approach to producer responsibility, we will continue to struggle to prevent plastic pollution in the aquatic and marine environment.”

Resources & Reports

Sustainable Packaging Coalition Offers Free and Reduced Membership Rates
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) is currently offering free and reduced membership rates for local governments. Options include a free a la carte/Affiliate membership, which includes access to webinars and reports and participation opportunities in SPC projects. A $1,000 local government membership option includes complimentary tickets to each of their two conferences (a $1,400 value). The SPC is an industry working group dedicated to a more robust environmental vision for packaging.

PSI Releases Sustainability Report Card for Telephone Directories
The Product Stewardship Institute's (PSI) recently released Sustainability Report Card for Telephone Directories: Yellow Pages (PDF) shows that sixteen of the nation's largest directory publishers earned failing or poor grades for their environmental efforts.

Upcoming Events

Oregon E-Cycle Tour and Presentation: Sept. 3
Join Association of Oregon Recyclers and Jason Linnell manager, Oregon State Contractor Program, for a tour and update on Oregon’s E-Cycle Program on Wednesday, September 3rd from 10am to 12pm. Jason will discuss Oregon’s E-Cycle successes as well ongoing challenges. Jason will also discuss how Oregon’s program differs from other mandated recycling programs and how national trends are impacting collection programs. Tour and discussion will be held at Total Reclaim in Portland. Space is limited on this tour, register soon.

Mattress Recycling Summit Sept. 17
Join King County LinkUp and the Take it Back Network for the 2014 Mattress Recycling Summit, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 9am to 12pm at the ShoWare Center in Kent, WA. The Summit will include presentations from King County LinkUp and the Mattress Recycling Council, and a panel discussion on current developments in the industry with active recyclers, haulers, and retailers. It will also provide the opportunity to make connections in the local mattress recycling industry, share insights, and get answers. RSVP to linkup@cplusc.com to save your seat or contact Alex Erzen with questions.

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.

Subscribe to the NWPSC Newsletter. For current subscribers: update your email, password, or unsubscribe on the Subscriber Preferences Page (you will need to use your email address to log in). If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please visit subscriberhelp.govdelivery.com.