Outreach and Coordination Projects

Supporting Local Governments and their Allies to Advance Product Stewardship at the State Level

PSI recognizes that local governments, along with certain companies, environmental groups, and other stakeholders, often share policy priorities and strategies to shape and promote both legislative and voluntary initiatives within a specific state. In these cases, PSI supports local government groups and their allies working to advance product stewardship in their state by providing a range of services above and beyond our usual member and partner benefits. These services may include organizational coordination and support, meeting facilitation, technical assistance, seeking cooperative financing opportunities, fiscal services, hiring and oversight of interns, and access to information and networks.

Past local government coalitions:
  • Florida (Florida Chapter/North American Hazardous Materials Management Association)
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont (Vermont Product Stewardship Council)

Current local government coalitions:

  • Michigan (Michigan Recycling Coalition)
  • Nebraska (Nebraska Product Stewardship Coalition)
  • New York (New York Product Stewardship Council)
  • Oklahoma
  • Northeast Region

Michigan: Beginning in 2012, PSI is collaborating with the Michigan Recycling Coalition (MRC) to deepen understanding of the product stewardship approach among Michigan communities. Specifically, PSI and MRC are working to raise awareness and implement product stewardship strategies for three priority product categories: electronics, packaging, and unwanted pharmaceuticals. Under PSI’s guidance, MRC convened multi-stakeholder strategy meetings Fall 2012-Spring 2013 for each of the priority products about how they should be managed, gathering valuable input from local governments, businesses, and environmental leaders, and building momentum for the product stewardship approach. PSI’s work in Michigan is funded through a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Nebraska: PSI facilitates and advises the Nebraska Product Stewardship Coalition (NEPSC), which was formed in 2010 by Keep Nebraska Beautiful, WasteCap Nebraska, the Nebraska League of Municipalities, and the cities of Lincoln and Omaha. NEPSC’s mission is to shift Nebraska’s current government-funded and ratepayer-financed waste management system to one based on producer responsibility. To this end, PSI facilitates NEPSC’s Leadership Team calls, and provides technical services for the Coalition in the form of research studies on consumer attitudes and product priorities, website development and management, design and publication of outreach materials and product stewardship fact sheets, and production of educational webinars. PSI receives funding from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality for its work with NEPSC.

New York: In the Empire State, PSI works closely with the New York Product Stewardship Council (NYPSC), a very diverse organization with active membership including state agencies, local governments ranging from the nation’s largest city (New York) to small rural counties, and non-government members including the Natural Resources Defense Council and a nationally recognized independent recycling consultant. The goal of NYPSC’s work is to build support for passage of new EPR laws in New York, and to ensure effective implementation of the State’s current laws on electronics and batteries. PSI’s services in New York include assistance with strategic planning, meeting facilitation, developing co-branded legislative fact sheets and testimony, producing technical webinars, and fiscal services. PSI has also collaborated with NYPSC on multiple successful bids for grant funding, and is assisting in the completion of necessary steps for NYPSC to become an independent nonprofit organization.

Northeast Region: PSI regularly convenes government stakeholders from the Northeast region to discuss product stewardship initiatives and issues. These PSI-facilitated meetings provide local and state materials management representatives with an opportunity to collaborate with their colleagues, learn from each other's experiences, explore opportunities for increased program efficiencies in the region, and identify areas for the harmonization of product stewardship policies across states. In the Fall 2012 meeting, the group identified priority products for EPR policies. In the Spring 2013 meeting, the group met again to discuss stewardship program options for paint, their number one priority product. The group will convene again this fall to continue the collaboration to advance product stewardship policy in the region. These meetings are made possible with financial support from state and local government agencies, and from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - New England.

Interested in learning more about, or participating in, Outreach and Coordination Projects? Contact Elise Simons at (857) 301-6436 to learn more about the Outreach and Coordination Projects and what participants hope to accomplish.

 

Promoting Product Stewardship Programs in Rural Areas

If product stewardship is going to work for America, it has to work for rural America. Rural areas present their own challenges to outreach and logistics for recycling. While rural counties have low populations, on a per capita basis they generate a significant amount of HHW, very little of which is diverted from the waste stream. Rural populations are also more dependent on groundwater. HHW contains the same toxic materials as commercial and industrial hazardous waste and should be managed with a comparable level of care.

Since 2010, PSI has won an annual Solid Waste Management grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office. This grant funds PSI’s work with small, impoverished communities to increase local enrollment in manufacturer-funded take-back programs, and to promote the availability and use of these programs among residents. In 2012, PSI developed a best practices documentto serve as a resource for other individuals and organizations working to expand take-back options in the rural United States.

Past USDA grants locations:

  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

Current USDA grant locations:

  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

PSI works with recycling coordinators and businesses in select counties to encourage rural consumers to take advantage of take-back programs that are available to them either through voluntary industry initiatives or EPR laws. PSI’s successful strategies have included: connecting recycling coordinators with Call2Recycle; encouraging local law enforcement to take part in collecting unused pharmaceuticals; registering local heating and cooling contractors to collect mercury thermostats through TRC, and paying the initial fee for a thermostat collection bin; encouraging local residents to take advantage of existing retail CFL take-back programs through Lowe’s and Home Depot; and exploring potential arrangements with local manufacturers and retailers to help manage problematic product categories like paint and mattresses. As part of these projects PSI has developed a Guide to Maximizing the Use of Existing Programs. PSI has also developed a curriculum and supporting website for grades 4-6 focused on promoting safe management of household products that can be hazardous when not properly managed at end of life.

Rural Fellows

Based on lessons learned from previous projects regarding the need for local investment, PSI is currently partnering with "Rural Fellows” – local partners at regional recycling cooperatives, a local affiliate of a national environmental nonprofit, and a university-based sustainability institute – to plan and carry out research and outreach strategies for our USDA-funded project in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Rural Fellows will receive both funding and guidance to implement outreach programs in their communities. PSI’s Rural Fellows include:

Kansas: Kansas State University Pollution Prevention Institute

Nebraska: Keep Alliance Beautiful

Oklahoma: Solid Waste Institute of Northeast Oklahoma

Texas: Cooperative Teamwork & Recycling Assistance

Resources for Rural Fellows:

General Resources

Rechargeable Batteries

Fluorescent Lamps

Electronics

Mercury Auto Switches

Mercury Thermostats

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