NWPSC April 2015 Newsletter

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April 2015


Paint Stewardship Bill Fails to Move Out of Washington Senate Committee
Engrossed Substitute House Bill (ESHB) 1571 passed the House on March 5 and was heard in the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment and Telecommunications March 17, but did not move out of committee prior to the cut-off date. The bill will likely be taken up again in 2016, the second year of the biennium. Watch video of the Feb. 5 House hearing testimony.

Third County Enacts Safe Drug Disposal Stewardship Ordinance
The Mayor of San Francisco signed the Safe Drug Disposal Stewardship ordinance on March 26 following two unanimous votes of approval by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (the legislative branch of the City and County of San Francisco). San Francisco’s new law is very similar to King County’s Secure Medicine Return Regulations. The ordinance becomes effective on April 25, 2015.
Quoted in the Washington Examiner, Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of the California Product Stewardship Council, asked "Why is it fair to privatize 100% of the profits and socialize 100% of the costs? These are the same companies that don't like taxes, don't want fees, don't like big government, and we're offering them a program where they get to write their own regulations." Ed Gottlieb, Chair of the Coalition for Safe Medication Disposal in Tompkins County, New York, wrote a related piece for the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), 4 Reasons Why EPR is the Best Solution for Safe Drug Disposal. California Healthline also covered the news.

Battery Stewardship Bill Introduced in Connecticut
Connecticut HB 6957, which would create a "household battery recycling stewardship program", is under consideration in the General Assembly.

Toxic Substances Control Act "reform" bill would preempt state and local authority to regulate chemicals used in commerce
U.S. Senate bill 697, also known as the Udall-Vitter bill or the "Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act", the most recent proposal to update the Toxics Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), is attracting support from the chemical industry and associations representing consumer product manufacturers. Despite bipartisan support at a March 18 Senate hearing, Attorneys General from California, Massachusetts, New York, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington weighed-in against the Udall-Vitter bill, highlighting the bill’s broad preemption of state and local laws and enforcement authority that is markedly different from TSCA's existing federal-local balance. Maryland’s Attorney General testified that “S. 697 includes the near evisceration of state authority to regulate toxic chemicals and fails to achieve TSCA's intended goals.” A competing proposal from Senators Boxer and Markey, S. 725, has so far been denied a Senate hearing.
Organizations stating opposition to the Udall-Vitter bill include: Safer Chemicals, Health Families; Breast Cancer Fund; Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization; Environmental Working Group; EarthJustice; Association of Women’s Health; Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; American Nurses Association; Physicians for Social Responsibility; and United Steelworkers.


EPR is an Opportunity, Not a Threat
John Skinner, Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) wrote in the March SWANA newsletter (Extended Producer Responsibility: An Opportunity, Not a Threat) that with the national recycling rate in the U.S. "stagnated at about 34% for nearly a decade... waste management professionals should not look at EPR as a threat, but as an opportunity to bring additional resources to support and expand local efforts and drive recycling rates higher. Innovative and forward-thinking local recycling programs can develop a synergistic relationship with producer-supported EPR programs. This approach has been used in many successful EPR programs around the world." Skinner also noted that SWANA's Product Stewardship Policy "fully supports this relationship between producer supported recycling programs and local recycling programs."


LightRecycle Washington Website TrafficLightRecycle Washington logo
LightRecycleWA.org, the website of the mercury lights stewardship program in Washington state begun on Jan. 1, 2015, had a total of about 13,000 unique visits January through March. Each user is spending nearly two minutes on the site and the vast majority intended to be there (reflected in the low bounce rate). In March, the top five websites referring traffic to LightRecycleWA.org were King County, the Department of Ecology, The Columbian, Kitsap County, and Facebook. Traffic shows that the average site user is Male (54%), Age 25-34 (33%), and from Seattle (21%). In addition to Ecology and King County, top referral sites in January and February included The Bellingham Herald, NBCRightNow, The Spokesman Review, and the City of Seattle. (analytics courtesy of LightRecycle Washington and the Dept. of Ecology)

First Mattress Stewardship Program Begins May 1 in Connecticut
The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), the nonprofit stewardship organization established by the mattress industry, developed and will manage the Connecticut Mattress Stewardship Program to collect and recycle mattresses and box springs discarded in Connecticut, beginning May 1. The program is funded through a $9 visible recycling fee collected at retail from customers on each mattress and box spring sold in the state. The MRC will launch similar programs in California and Rhode Island in 2016.

Upcoming Events

  • Take-Back Programs in Rural Areas and the Role of Retailers (webinar): April 23, 12-1pm Pacific
  • GoGreen 2015 Sustainability Conference for Business and Government: April 30, Seattle, WA — use code KINGCOUNTY15 to receive 50% off registration
  • Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC) 41st Annual Zero Waste Conference: May 6-8, Whistler, BC
  • National Sustainable Materials Management Summit: May 12-13, Maryland
  • Washington State Recycling Association (WSRA) Annual Conference: May 17-20, Spokane, WA

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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