December 10, 2013
DEEP Awards Product Stewardship Institute $180,000 to
Help Reduce Environmental and Financial Impacts of
Consumer Products in Connecticut
PSI to develop and implement product stewardship policies and programs for priority products - creating jobs, saving taxpayer dollars, and benefiting the environment
Connecticut residents will likely have more options in the future for safely and responsibly disposing of certain consumer products, thanks to a series of efforts led by the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) through a contract awarded by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). The products in focus include carpet, batteries, packaging, pesticides, and fertilizers-each of which presents unique environmental, logistical, and financial challenges to sustainable, post-consumer management. PSI will work with Connecticut to develop policies and programs under which manufacturers safely disposing of or recycle their own products at the end of their useful life - a concept known as "producer responsibility."
"Connecticut is again leading the nation in efforts to reduce the environmental as well as the financial burden of used and discarded products," said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. "We look forward to working with PSI to develop strategies that will guide the future of product stewardship and producer responsibility in Connecticut and the nation. Recovering the materials in discarded products helps protect the environment, creates jobs, and boosts the economy."
Connecticut is one of 32 states that has adopted producer responsibility legislation. Current product stewardship laws in Connecticut include consumer electronics, paint, mattresses, and mercury-containing thermostats. Other producer responsibility laws across the U.S. address carpet, batteries, pharmaceuticals, fluorescent lamps, mercury-containing auto switches, and other products. In 2013 alone, nine state or local producer responsibility bills passed or became law - the most in any single legislative year-raising the total number of laws across the nation to seventy-six.
"Our work with Connecticut over the next three years will enhance the state's national leadership role as an environmental steward," says Scott Cassel, PSI's chief executive officer. "Moreover, it will allow us to develop model bills and programs that we can introduce in Connecticut and in other states, thus continuing to build national momentum for product stewardship and, more specifically, Extended Producer Responsibility."
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) refers to a type of product stewardship that is mandated by law and focused on products and packaging after consumers buy and use them. It is often the most effective solution to sustainable materials management because it can:
save taxpayer dollars by redirecting the financial burden toward the manufacturer and the consumer;
create recycling jobs with companies using the recovered feedstock;
boost recycling rates of entire product categories while diverting landfill waste; and
prompt manufacturers to design products that are easily reusable, recyclable, and less toxic.
In addition to devising product stewardship strategies for Connecticut, PSI will coordinate efforts regionally, conducting meetings for state and local government officials in all of the eight northeast states. PSI will also develop universally applicable metrics - including those for recycling, program efficiency, financial savings, job creation, and environmental impact reduction - to assess the effectiveness of the region's product stewardship programs year over year.
About the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI)
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) is a national, membership-based nonprofit committed to reducing the health, safety, and environmental impacts of consumer products across their lifecycles, with a focus on sustainable end-of-life management. Founded in 2000, we take a unique product stewardship approach to solving waste management problems by encouraging product design changes, mediating stakeholder dialogues, and advocating for producer responsibility, in which manufacturers fund and manage the recycling and/or safe disposal of their own products post-consumer use. With 47 state environmental agency members, along with hundreds of local government members from coast-to-coast, and 95 corporate, business, academic, non-U.S. government, and organizational partners, we work to design, implement, evaluate, strengthen, and promote both voluntary and legislative product stewardship initiatives across North America. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/ProductStewardship. Follow us on Twitter @ProductSteward.