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Since 2010, PSI has received two rounds of funding through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Solid Waste Management grant program. Through USDA’s generous support, PSI is working to maximize the use of existing product stewardship programs in select rural counties, while also paving the way for product stewardship for new product types. While these 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. This problem is common throughout the United States and in the target areas we chose for this project, are:

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

PSI is working with recycling coordinators in these counties to provide complementary outreach campaigns encouraging rural consumers to take advantage of take-back programs where EPR laws exist, such as for electronics in Illinois, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and mercury thermostats in Illinois and Iowa. In addition to driving collection in EPR programs, PSI is working to bring rural residents access to voluntary product stewardship programs through various methods, including:

  • Connecting recycling coordinators with RBRC, and paying the initial fee to put in a battery collection box
  • Encouraging local sheriffs offices to take part in pharmaceuticals recovery
  • Encouraging electrical contractors to work with TRC to responsibly manage the mercury thermostats they remove from project sites
  • Exploring potential arrangements with local manufacturers and retailers to help manage problematic product categories like paint and mattresses
  • Distributing a Guide to Maximizing the Use of Existing Product Stewardship Programs

PSI is convening technical training sessions and strategy meetings, both in-person and via conference call, to ensure that product stewardship results in the greatest possible recycling increases as well as the greatest possible cost savings for local governments. PSI is also providing Full-Member benefits and launching web-based tool kits for participating recycling coordinators. If you have questions or would like further information, please contact Evan Newell at 617-236-8293.

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