The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) is a national nonprofit committed to minimizing the negative health, environmental, and economic impacts of consumer products and packaging—particularly at the end of the products’ intended usefulness. We believe that when manufacturers design, produce, and manage their products in environmentally responsible ways, the products are inherently less toxic and less hazardous over the course of their lifecycle. Additionally, local taxpayers and governments are relieved of the financial and operational burdens of materials collection and management.
PSI has been the vanguard of the product stewardship and producer responsibility movement in the U.S. for more than 14 years. We launched in Boston, Massachusetts in December 2000 by hosting the first national forum on product stewardship policies and programs. Over 100 government representatives from 20 states came together at that time to discuss waste management solutions for electronics, paint, mercury-containing products, pesticides, and tires—products that PSI had identified as priorities through a series of surveys and interviews in the months leading up to the forum. By 2001, PSI had begun working on product stewardship solutions for e-waste, and our work helped pave the way for electronics producer responsibility programs in 25 states. By 2002, we had also taken on leftover paint, forging an agreement with paint manufacturers and other stakeholders across the U.S. that led to model legislation and now seven statewide producer responsibility laws. By the mid 2000s, our work with mercury products, including thermostats (2004) and fluorescent lamps (2007), resulted in model bills, 10 state laws on thermostats, and three state laws on lamps. And by 2013, we had helped pass the nation’s first two producer responsibility laws for pharmaceuticals, introduce similar bills in 8 states and other local agencies, and introduce the nation’s first federal pharmaceuticals stewardship bill. We also helped develop and pass the nation’s first producer responsibility laws for mattresses in three states.
To date, PSI has laid the groundwork for product stewardship bills across 18 product categories—a number that keeps on growing as more government agencies, municipalities, and manufacturers, alike, recognize the environmental and economic benefits of such legislation.