Category: Product stewardship

EPR-style legislation draws ongoing state-level interest despite pandemic setbacks

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Momentum behind extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws for packaging is growing in multiple states, per comments at this year’s virtual Northeast Recycling Coalition conference. Officials and EPR proponents from Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island all spoke to increasing interest. 

Several cited Maine’s bill (LD 2104), in limbo due to the pandemic, as a policy blueprint. Massachusetts and New York have considered bills recently, while Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) Environmental Analyst Tom Metzner said his state is busy seeking buy-in from municipalities.

Motivating factors include pandemic-induced budget cuts facing local governments, with state attention driving more business engagement. “The industry is coming around” on EPR, said Metzner, adding “I think the states are getting weary of this manufacturer position that ‘no it doesn’t really work,’ or ‘let’s keep talking.'”

Government told to speed up textiles EPR

Read the full story at MRW.

The Textile Recycling Association (TRA) has told the Government it must complete its review into imposing extended producer responsibility (EPR) on the clothing and textiles sectors by 2022 so this can be implemented as swiftly as possible.

In a policy paper on EPR, the TRA cited what it called “the huge environmental and social impacts associated with the UK’s clothing supply chain”.

An ambitious recycling policy proposal could go local

Read the full story at Resource Recycling.

Two members of Congress who have pushed for EPR, a national deposit system and more are now encouraging state and municipal lawmakers to introduce their own versions of the legislation.

The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, introduced in Congress in February, contains numerous measures that affect the U.S. recycling system, including extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging, a national container deposit, minimum recycled content requirements and more. In EPR systems, producers of different material types are mandated to manage and/or fund recovery systems.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., and it has generated significant discussion within the recycling sector. It was referred into a House committee and has not seen action since then.

But on Aug. 12, Udall and Lowethal released a memo that serves as a guide for how local and state lawmakers can bring policies from the national act into their own jurisdictions. The memo was addressed to the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, a group of state lawmakers across the country who are particularly interested in environmental issues.

Master Class EPR: EPR fees and fee modulation

September 9th 2020 – 8:00 AM (CDT)
Register here.

This Master Class is the second in a series of Master Classes jointly organized by ISWA, EXPRA and Product Stewardship Institute to explain the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), its various application for various waste streams and in various countries as well as diving into hot topics and specific details.

It complements ISWA’s EPR+ library where you can find numerous articles of people dealing with EPR and their experiences and lessons learned.

During this Master Class we will discuss one of the most important features within each EPR system, namely the fees. Especially today where everybody is talking about “eco modulation of EPR fees” we first need to know and understand how a Producer Responsibility Organisation calculates and fixes their fee system before we can discuss how to modulate them.

  • Derek Stephenson, having worked for a Canadian PRO for many years and being a consultant who helped several PRO’s to design their fee systems, will explain in detail how an EPR fee system is developed and designed and how it has to be adapted mirroring market developments etc.
  • Peter Sundt, secretary general of EPRO and EPR and waste management consultant, will discuss with us the various approaches that some European PRO’s have done in developing their eco-modulation, being the front runners in this quite new development, even long before the European Commission has published their guidance on fee modulation which will hopefully be the case when our webinar is taking place. In this case, we will also shortly touch the main findings of this guidance.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

EPR is an environmental policy approach designed to shift the burden of managing certain end-of-life products from municipalities and taxpayers to the producers who place those products on the market. Beyond the end-of-life management stage, EPR also stimulates greater engagement of producers in the overall redesign of products and packaging, with the ultimate aim of reducing environmental and health impacts. The first Master Class recording on the Basics of EPR is available on the ISWA YouTube page.

Why join this webinar?

All people who are already in touch with EPR today or might be in touch with EPR tomorrow will benefit from this series of webinars by increasing their knowledge and understanding so that they are able to develop their own opinion and are able to put third peoples statements, opinions, studies etc into context.

This free EPR webinar series is a partnership between EXPRA, Product Stewardship Institute and ISWA.

Udall, Lowenthal Circulate Blueprints for Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act to State Legislators

U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) are calling on state and local legislators to introduce and enact legislation to tackle America’s growing plastic pollution and packaging waste crisis at the state level. In a memo to the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) for its 2020 National Forum Udall and Lowenthal encourage the lawmakers to draw from their Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act for state bills to reduce the production of wasteful plastic and work together to tackle a mounting crisis in plastic pollution and packaging waste. Drafted for the NCEL 2020 National Forum, Udall and Lowenthal intend the memo to be used broadly by other state and local lawmakers at all levels of government at the same time Congress debates meaningful action to solve this crisis.

The memo includes guidance for local legislators in drafting bills that suit the needs of their community to effectively reduce plastic pollution and packaging waste that causing rising state and local financial burdens and offers a portfolio of policy options that can be utilized based on the specific needs of local communities.

“The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act (BFFPPA) goes beyond plastic to tackle all manner of products and packaging that are impacting our environment, straining our budgets, and threatening our health. This memo is broken into components of the [the Act]. We encourage you to use the attached blueprints along with the bill text and our supplemental materials to craft robust legislation for your state. Whatever you decide, we encourage you to build on the great action that has already taken place across the country and to further push for change that will have a lasting impact,” the lawmakers write in the memo.

In February, Udall and Lowenthal introduced theBreak Free From Plastic Pollution Act (BFFPPA) after a year’s long effort that included soliciting input from over 200 individuals, organizations, and state and local lawmakers. The BFFPPA is based on proposed legislation and existing statutes from various states combined for the first time to create a comprehensive bill to address plastic pollution and packaging waste in the United States. The bill phases out unnecessary single-use plastic products, makes polluting companies pay to clean up their plastic pollution and packaging waste, sets up a nationwide beverage container refund program, requires post-consumer recycled content in new products, requires accurate labels for recycling and composting, prohibits the export of plastic waste to developing countries, and pauses the build-out of new plastic producing facilities until regulations are updated.

“State and Federal leaders should all know about the damage caused to communities and the environment by the enormous amount of production, dumping, and burning of single-use plastic. This catastrophe requires action at every level of government, and state legislators are excited to see the many ways their leadership has informed policy work in Washington, D.C., and vice versa,”  said Jeff Mauk, NCEL Executive Director.

“The Surfrider Foundation recognizes that many state and local legislators would like to introduce bills similar to policies outlined in the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act,” said Jennie Romer, Legal Associate at the Surfrider Foundation’s Plastic Pollution Initiative. “Such bills would reduce plastic pollution and shift the costs of collection, recycling, disposal, and cleanup of packaging away from the municipality, holding the producers of packaging responsible. This memo provides valuable insights on how to structure such bills, including background on why certain clauses were chosen and which states’ laws inspired certain clauses of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act.”

“The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act includes the same extended producer responsibility (EPR) elements contained in packaging EPR bills already introduced in numerous state legislatures,”  said Scott Cassel, CEO and Founder of the Product Stewardship Institute. “With EPR at its core, the BFFPPA shifts the responsibility to finance and manage packaging from local governments to producers. It represents legislative best practices to reduce waste and recycle all material types back into the circular economy, with a particular focus on eliminating unnecessary plastics that create significant pollution.”

“Deposit systems represent the most effective beverage container recycling programs available, and the BFFPPA provides a valuable framework for modernizing them in the 10 state with these laws and in developing them in the 40 without,” said Susan Collins, President of the Container Recycling Institute, a nonprofit recycling industry authority. “With the use of consumer-focused technologies, coverage of all relevant beverage types, an increase in deposit amounts and adequate handling and processing fees for redemption centers, we can achieve beverage container recycling rates of more than 80 percent, compared to the current 23 percent in non-deposit states. This would mean dramatically less litter and harmful marine debris, fewer greenhouse gas emissions and deposit money back in consumers’ pockets.”

“The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act should serve as a model for legislators across the country on how to comprehensively tackle the plastic pollution crisis. For too long, corporations have diverted blame for the plastic pollution crisis they have created. They have told us that if we just recycle more or participate in beach cleanups that we can turn this around. That has not worked. It is time to end our reliance on single-use plastics and prevent petrochemical companies from locking us into decades of additional plastic production,” said Kate Melges, Greenpeace USA Senior Plastics Campaigner.

“Latinx communities stand up for solutions that will protect our pristine ocean and waterways, but also protect our communities from harmful toxins in our water and air. We need to come up with practices that greatly reduce single-use plastics and packaging through reduction, sustainable alternatives and holding producers accountable. We believe the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act can greatly reduce the amount of plastic pollution currently being produced and processed in our communities. By investing in concrete steps to reduce our waste, we are investing in the health of our environment and communities of color, ” said Mariana Del Valle Prieto Cervantes, Clean and Healthy Waters Consultant for GreenLatinos.

“The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act assembled our best policies to reduce plastic pollution at the source. Now, the full blueprint is available to state and local leaders, many of whom contributed to the process. With this comprehensive model, we can effectively reduce the amount of disposable plastic in our lives and hold producers responsible for the problematic waste they create, ” said Alex Truelove, Zero Waste Director for U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

“States and cities have the power to propel the nation forward in the fight against plastic pollution, and the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act has provided a blueprint for meaningful change. An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic enter the ocean every year — roughly the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the sea every minute. To reverse this crisis, we need robust, comprehensive policies, like the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, that stop plastic pollution at its source and promote a shift to reusables and refillables. Plastic production’s current trajectory paints a grim picture for our blue planet’s future, but policy-makers have the power to change course before it’s too late,” said Christy Leavitt, Oceana plastics campaign director.

“Plastic pollutes not only our waterways and oceans, but from source and production, it negatively impacts the health of communities nearby. Latinxs have a long track record of common sense approaches to conservation, and support long term solutions that protect both people and nature ,” said Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš, Founder and Executive Director for Azul.

“We simply can’t make so much plastic without trashing our oceans, climate and the life they support. The Break Free From Plastic Act works to address the crisis by reducing plastic packaging and putting the brakes on increased plastic production. The Act also sets the goal posts for state and local governments to hold the plastic industry accountable for the pollution it creates. We need strong actions at every level of government to stop the conversion of fracked gas into mountains of throwaway plastic,” said Delia Ridge Creamer, Oceans Campaigner, Center for Biological Diversity.

  • The full memo to the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators can be found HERE.
  • The full text of the BFFPPA can be found HERE.
  • A summary and extensive background materials can be found HERE.

Contact: Ned Adriance (Udall) 202.228.6870 / Keith Higginbotham (Lowenthal) 202.225.7924

Who Should Pay to Advance a Circular Economy for Scrap Tires?

Read the full story at Waste360.

About 3.9 million tons of waste tires are generated annually in the U.S., and each state for the most part is on its own to manage them. About 35 states have set up consumer-funded programs to manage the waste and see that scrap tires are put to use. But there aren’t enough end markets, and stewardship organizations and some state regulators say industry should share the burden of dealing with the material.

The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) disagrees, saying it should be on the states to ensure that scrap tires are responsibly managed and to grow end-use markets. And there’s already a fairly robust market: tire-derived fuel. But the opposition argues that burning tires to make fuel is not environmentally sustainable, and that the robustness of the market depends on the region.

The State of Producer Responsibility in the United States

Read the full story at Earth911.

Producer responsibility is a strategy that engages manufacturers in the entire lifecycle of their products” including end-of-life disposal. It’s a radical shift from the way Americans usually think of materials’ lifecycles; once you buy something you are responsible for it, even after it’s no longer functional. But the shift to producer responsibility is necessary to enable a circular economy.

The IC2 & Clean Production Action Release Report on Chemical Ingredient Transparency in Products

State governments, which are at the frontline of fighting COVID-19, are also at the forefront of requiring businesses to disclose chemical ingredients in their products to consumers and public agencies. From California to New York consumers are demanding, and states are requiring, that companies disclose chemicals in cleaning, children’s, cosmetics, menstrual, and other products. But what are these disclosure requirements? And what can we learn from them? 

NEWMOA’s IC2 and Clean Production Action (CPA) partnered to review more than ten public policies that require the disclosure of chemicals in products and one industry standard that sets guidelines for disclosure in building products. The new joint report, Chemical Ingredient Transparency in Products, highlights three forms of disclosure:

  • ALL chemical ingredients in a product category, such as cleaning products (with limited exceptions for confidential business information).
  • Chemicals, or classes of chemicals, of concern in products, such as requirements to disclose mercury and mercury compounds in nearly all products.
  •  Chemicals of concern in a category of products, such as children’s products.

An appendix summarizing existing public policies and one voluntary industry standard is also available as an Excel file.

Significantly, state governments are requiring companies to disclose all chemicals intentionally added to products as well as impurities in the products, so-called “non-functional constituents, that are chemicals of concern to human health and the environment because they can cause cancer, birth defects, and other adverse health effects. “These new disclosure policies,” highlighted Mark S. Rossi, Executive Director of CPA, “will enable consumers to compare products based on their chemical ingredients and incentivize manufacturers to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives.”

Terri Goldberg, Executive Director of NEWMOA, stated, “We are excited to be working with a wide range of key stakeholders to advance chemical ingredient disclosure programs, and this report provides the needed background information to inform this important work.”

Webinar: Software solutions that set the global circular economy spinning

May 20, 2020 noon-1:30 pm CDT
Register here

As Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) takes hold around the world, the demands on organizations that manage complex recovery and recycling programs, like producer responsibility organizations (PROs) and government-run stewardship programs, grow more numerous each year. To meet the demands of these complex circular supply chains, PROs and other stewardship organizations need better tools— ones that are specifically designed for them and their programs. Current systems fall short as government regulators, consumers, and manufacturers are demanding greater transparency in the chain of responsibility for the materials they are collecting, increased financial transactions with vendors, and irrefutable data integrity.

Canadian software company Diversys has developed DiversysPRO, a workflow software solution specifically designed to address the challenges of the recycling industry, particularly under EPR systems. PSI and Diversys have teamed up to provide this webinar, which will explore the factors driving the need for more and better data, including supply chain management, financial responsibility, regulatory compliance, and environmental challenges. We will also examine current solutions, how Diversys meets the needs of PROs, and look to the future of EPR program design. This webinar will continue PSI’s global conversation about EPR and the circular economy.

Proposed Legislation Sparks Conversation About EPR, Plastics

Read the full story at Waste360.

The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act aims to combat plastic pollution via source reduction and extended producer responsibility.

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