PSI's April 2012 Newsletter
Trends & Highlights in Product Stewardship
The Search for Balance
The debate over the balance between regulation and free market economy is ever-growing in the field of product stewardship and beyond. Anti-regulatory voices are roaring from the Tea Party and the presidential debates, when striving for balance would be a more appropriate discussion. Thomas Freidman's new book, That Used to Be Us, echo's this notion that regulation should promote risk-taking and innovation, while preventing "recklessness" and corporate excesses. Regulations like extended producer responsibility address externalities that aren't paid for in the cost of products, and can help to boost economic activity and protect the environment. Fair, balanced regulation also helps level the playing field so that all companies are held to the same responsibilities.
Show of Note: The Food Network's "The Big Waste"
By: PSI's Shelley Raymond
The Food Network recently aired a special, "The Big Waste," that challenged two teams of first class chefs (Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell, and Alex Guarnaschelli) to prepare a multi-course gourmet meal - with one small catch. They could use only ingredients that would otherwise be wasted. The show aimed to highlight one of America's biggest waste issues - food waste. Americans toss 200 pounds of food per person per year, according to the show, which could fill one football stadium each day. The show followed the chefs as they visited various stores and vendors to collect perfectly edible food that was unsuitable for sale due to small blemishes. One chicken vendor, selling humanely raised heritage chickens, said he loses $30,000-50,000 per year in wasted chickens due to defects that do not affect the quality of the chicken, but consumer perception of quality. While I watched Bobby Flay collect perfectly good radishes and carrots bound for the trash (and eventually win the challenge), I was ultimately reminded of the impact of the massive quantities of food waste in America.
PSI News and Updates
EPR Debated in Rhode Island
On March 29, 2012, extended producer responsibility bills for paint and fluorescent lamps were debated at a hearing in the Rhode Island legislature. H7443 would establish a collection system for mercury containing fluorescent lamps and HB 7233 proposes a paint stewardship program. PSI submitted letters of support for both the paint and fluorescent lamps bills. The Senate versions of both bills will be considered at a hearing on April 11. Bills related to rechargeable batteries and mattresses are also being considered.
PSI's Advisory Council Grows to 14 Members
The PSI Advisory Council, comprised of major public figures from the business, academic, and non-profit sectors, continues to gain momentum through the addition of seven new members: Rich Abramowitz (Waste Management), Robert Giegengack (University of Pennsylvania), Neil Hastie (Encorp Pacific), Nabil Nasr (Golisano Institute for Sustainability), John Waffenschmidt (Covanta Energy Corporation), Michele Whyle (3M), and Kathrin Winkler (EMC Corporation). Learn more about these 7 members, and all the other members on our website. With a wide range of resources and experiences to draw from, the Advisory Council acts as a think tank for PSI on both end-of-life initiatives, as well as initiatives to ensure product sustainability throughout the entire supply chain.
PSI Associates for Policy and Programs, Kate Hagemann and Evan Newell, recently traveled to four rural counties in North Carolina and South Carolina for product stewardship outreach as part of PSI's grant with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Kate and Evan advised recycling officials on existing voluntary product stewardship options for problem wastes like mercury products and ewaste, and helped promote those options and maximize the use of product stewardship in their counties.
In addition to meeting with officials, Kate and Evan visited current or potential collection points for product stewardship programs, such as electronics stores (batteries), HVAC contractors (thermostats), sheriff offices, and pharmacies (pharmaceuticals). Many locations were already participating in a take-back program to some degree, and PSI will provide additional resources to these locations, such as promotional materials.
Register today and become an expert on the latest cutting edge issues in the product stewardship field from the comfort of your own office. Topics include:
View all the descriptions on PSI's webinar webpage.
For more information, including access to call recordings, contact Erin Linsky Graeber, PSI Senior Associate of Communication and Outreach, at Erin@productstewardship.us or 617-236-4866.
PSI Grows with a New Business Manager and New Intern
We are happy to announce a previous intern has been offered a full-time position as Business Manager at PSI. Amanda Nicholson recently received her MBA from Babson College, where she focused on sustainable business and alternative energy technologies. Amanda has been at PSI since October 2011.
PSI also welcomes new Project Intern, Julia Jonas-Day. Julia is currently a senior at Wesleyan University, where she is completing a double major in Government and French, as well as a certificate program in International Relations.
Meet all of PSI's staff on our website.
Packaging & Printed Materials
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Paint legislation is still pending in New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont this session. Industry-supported paint legislation has become law in Oregon (2009), California (2010), and Connecticut (2011). Oregon’s paint stewardship program has been operational for over a year and the OR Department of Environmental Quality issued a Legislative Report in November 2011 while California and Connecticut’s laws are both slated for implemented by July 2012. PSI is working with the American Coatings Association to facilitate the roll-out of future industry-sponsored paint recycling legislation for the 2012 legislative session, which includes work with individual states and the northeast region. For more information, visit the PSI paint webpage or contact Scott Cassel, PSI CEO, at Scott@producststewardship.us or 617-236-4822.
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Single-use battery manufacturers have launched six Foundation Programs designed to gather data on existing battery recycling programs to provide insight for a voluntary stewardship program scheduled to kick off in 2013. As several PSI members are participating as Foundation Programs, and others are interested in increasing battery recycling, PSI is coordinating periodic government-only calls to share updates and perspectives on this product. PSI also continues to work with Call2Recycle to promote their program for rechargeable batteries, in particular through projects in Massachusetts and four southeastern states. For more information, visit the PSI’s batteries webpage, or contact Sierra Fletcher, PSI’s Director of Policy and Programs, at Sierra@productstewardship.us or 617-236-4886.
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Maine's first-in-the-nation EPR program for mercury lighting concluded its first program year, as programs in Vermont and Washington prepare for implementation. PSI continues to coordinate with its state and local government members and other colleagues to share updates on legislation and program implementation. Oregon recently enacted a law establishing mercury content standards for fluorescent lamps, with related legislation pending in New York. Producer responsibility legislation is currently pending in Rhode Island. For more information, visit PSI’s fluorescent lamps webpage, or contact Sierra Fletcher, PSI’s Director of Policy and Programs, at Sierra@productstewardship.us or 617-236-4886.
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PSI revised its model thermostat stewardship legislation, and over the past several months has continued to advocate for strong legislation based on the model. PSI continues to monitor the implementation of existing laws, particularly in California, where the Department of Toxic Substances is currently drafting regulations that will establish an important precedent for other states. PSI also continues to work to promote increased participation in the Thermostat Recycling Corporation’s voluntary take-back program, particularly in southeastern states. For more information, visit PSI’s thermostat webpage, or contact Mike Younis, PSI Associate for Policy and Programs, at Michael@productstewardship.us or 617-236-4853.
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This winter PSI has continued to work with a coalition of local and state government officials, environmental organizations, community health organizations and others to promote a comprehensive pharmaceutical collection program in the Great Lakes region. In advance of the Great Lakes Pharmaceutical Stewardship Summit to be held in June, PSI is working closely with various entities in the region to build its Great Lakes Coalition and to reach key stakeholders. Congresswoman Slaughter’s Pharmaceutical Stewardship Act (HR 2939) is pending on Congress, while Alameda County, CA is taking action at the local level with an ordinance that would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to establish a collection and disposal program for waste pharmaceuticals there. This spring PSI will also be hosting a webinar series examining policies to reduce drug waste. PSI staff continues to assist local organizations establish drug take-back programs across the country through its Drug Take Back Network website. For more information, visit PSI’s pharmaceuticals webpage, or contact Sierra Fletcher, PSI Director of Policy and Programs, at Sierra@productstewardship.us or 617-236-4886.
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Since August 2011, PSI has been working on a Paper Source Reduction Project with two communities in Massachusetts: the City of Cambridge and the Town of Brookline. PSI partnered with Catalog Choice to launch the two pilot projects, which give residents the opportunity to opt out of receiving hard copies of directories and unwanted mail. To date, 1,427 new Catalog Choice accounts have been created between the two communities. This project was made possible by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. PSI is currently providing technical support to state and local governments introducing phone book legislation, which would require directory publishers to provide transparency and oversight of opt-out programs currently lacking in the industry’s voluntary program. PSI has created model phone book legislation, which assisted the cities of Seattle and San Francisco in passing unprecedented phone book legislation and introduced this legislation to other jurisdictions as well. For more information, please see PSI’s phone books webpage or contact Mike Younis, PSI Associate for Policy and Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-236-4853.
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PACKAGING & PRINTED MATERIAL
PSI is involved in the numerous initiatives unfolding in the U.S. on increasing recycling of packaging and printed materials. In order to capture all of these initiatives and provide a snapshot of key policy questions, PSI held a webinar providing perspectives from a brand owner, a waste management company, a commodity group, and a state government official. PSI is also co-chairing a PAC NEXT (the sustainability initiative of the Packaging Association of Canada) committee tasked with developing policy best practices that support harmonization of EPR programs. The committee will be evaluating top programs in Europe and Canada against a set of criteria and will present its findings in a report. In an effort to share information, discuss policy, post events, and share perspectives, PSI created a packaging listserv accessible to all stakeholders. To subscribe to the listserv, please contact Stefanie Wnuck, PSI Associate for Policy and Programs, at Stefanie@productstewardship.us or (617) 671-0616. For more information about PSI’s packaging initiatives, see PSI’s packaging webpage or contact Scott Cassel, PSI CEO, at Scott@productstewardship.us or (617) 236-4822.
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PSI has recently developed a guide to existing electronics recycling programs that are accessible to residents who live in states without a mandatory producer-funded electronics recycling program. This guide is intended to serve as a useful tool for recycling coordinators who can raise public awareness about the myriad recycling options available to residents. This winter PSI also advocated for strong extended producer responsibility legislation in states that do not currently have a mandatory electronics recycling program, with a particular focus on Massachusetts. For more information, visit PSI’s electronics webpage, or contact Mike Younis, PSI Associate for Policy and Programs, at Michael@productstewardship.us or 617-236-4853.
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Connecticut has introduced EPR legislation this session based on the outline PSI developed featuring stakeholder input; this will serve as a model for states. Rhode Island also recently introduced a mattress EPR bill, building on its framework bill introduced in 2011, which identified mattresses as one of the three priority products to be addressed. Since hosting the first National Mattress Stewardship Meeting in April 2011, PSI has conducted a series of conference calls with stakeholders interested in developing EPR legislation. Connecticut is leading the way, and five other states are participating as well. PSI and the City of Hartford hosted a meeting on November 4, 2011 to discuss key elements of legislation with manufacturers, retailers, and other stakeholders, and held additional calls to receive input from stakeholders on proposed legislation. For more information on legislative updates, visit PSI’s mattresses webpage, or contact Stefanie Wnuck, PSI Associate for Policy and Programs, at Stefanie@productstewardship.us or (617) 671-0616.
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Upcoming PSI Events and Appearances
To see where PSI has spoken recently, click here. To see upcoming events, visit our website.
Articles of Interest
EPR Canada launches new Report Card to evaluate provincial Environmental Programs
EPR Canada Press Release
March 23, 2012
McDonald's to Test Replacing Foam Cups with Paper in 2,000 Restaurants
As You Sow Press Release
March 21, 2012
e-Stewards® Certification Will Now Include R2 Practices
Basel Action Network
March 1, 2012
Companies Pick Up Used Packaging, and Recycling's Cost
New York Times
March 23, 2012
Apple Shines the Light on Its Supply Chain, Warts and All
January 18, 2012
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PSI In the News
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New Members and Partners Join PSI!
PSI welcomes the Council of Governments Central Naugatuck Valley in Connecticut on as our newest Full Government Member.
PSI welcomes Recology as its newest Sustaining Partner, and Keeper Springs, Close the Loop, Cascadia Consulting Group, the Toxics Action Center, the Northeast Recycling Council, and the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC) as its newest partners.
PSI would like to thank its renewing Sustaining Partners: Raw Materials Company, Perchards, Éco Entreprises Québec (EEQ), Encorp Pacific, Recyc Quebec, Covanta, As You Sow, and BC Ministry of Environment; and its renewing Corporate and Organizational partners: Bay Area Clean Water Agencies (BACWA), the Conference on Canadian Stewardship, Sharps Compliance, Gracestone, Inc., the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies, and Purdue Pharmaceuticals.
Interested in PSI Membership or Partnership?
For more information, visit our website or contact Erin Linsky Graeber at 617-236-4866.