On December 6-7, 2000, the Product Stewardship Institute coordinated the country's first forum for government officials to discuss product stewardship policies and programs. Over 100 government officials from 20 states attended the two-day national Product Stewardship Forum. At the forum, former Secretary Bob Durand of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) announced the creation of the Product Stewardship Institute, which was communicated through a press release. The Institute was the first major initiative to grow out of an agreement signed in January 2000 by Secretary Durand and former University of Massachusetts President William Bulger.
Prior to the forum, Scott Cassel, PSI Founder and Director, surveyed state officials across the country to determine their five top waste management priorities for which a product stewardship approach was recommended. These five products – electronics, paint, mercury-containing products, pesticides, and tires – became the focus of the forum agenda. In preparation for the forum, workgroups were formed for each of the five products and Product Stewardship Action Plans were created. These plans served as the basis for breakout sessions at the conference. Following the conference, PSI coined the term National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative, and NEPSI was born. Electronics management was the first product focus for PSI. PSI is now working on over a dozen product categories.