In 2003, PSI worked with SEMASS, a Massachusetts solid waste combustion facility, to reduce safety issues and make recommendations related to the safe management of refillable propane tanks. PSI also worked with Sarasota County, Florida, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to address similar issues related to the collection and management of non-refillable one-pound gas cylinders. PSI’s project brought key parties together to jointly solve problems related to gas cylinder management. PSI conducted three results-oriented dialogues: the National Propane Summit, focused on management issues for 20-pound refillable propane tanks, and two meetings in Florida investigating management options for one-pound pressurized gas cylinders. At a more recent meeting, in October 2009, PSI collaborated with Worthington Cylinders and representatives from federal local and private organizations in Milwaukee, WI for a gas cylinders recycling workshop. The group met to explore the feasibility of developing a pilot cylinder recycling project that could potentially be replicated nationwide. Worthington Cylinder will use the extensive feedback provided during the meeting to develop an internal draft design for a pilot project and share it with the stakeholder group for feedback.
Initial agreements from these initiatives (including consensus language on cylinder management and education strategies) stress the importance of multi-stakeholder processes for identifying and developing appropriate management solutions. They also show the need to focus on distinct issues – such as the collection and recycling infrastructure, consumer education, and sustainable financing – that must be addressed separately but are tied together in all long-term solutions. Product stewardship has an important role to play in the resolution of these issues, whether it is through cost internalization measures or through financial support from industry for collection programs or equipment purchases.
Interested in learning more about, or participating in, the gas cylinder management dialogue? Contact Scott Cassel at 617-236-4822 PSI to learn more about the dialogue and what participants hope to accomplish.