The movement is nationwide, in red states and blue states, on both coasts and in the heartland. Local governments are leading the charge by adopting resolutions calling for state policies for extended producer responsibility (EPR), otherwise known as product stewardship. In California, the City of Roseville became the 100th local government, agency or association to adopt a local EPR resolution.

Local resolutions have been adopted in five other states around the country, often by members of state Product Stewardship Councils: New York (7 resolutions), Texas (4), Minnesota (6), Massachusetts (4), and Rhode Island (1). The resolutions call for extending producers’ responsibility for product waste beyond the sale to ensure products and packaging are properly reduced, reused and recycled. These resolutions also call for state legislatures to pass legislation that shifts financial responsibility for recycling product waste to producers and consumers, rather than costs falling solely on local governments via taxpayers and garbage ratepayers.

In June 2010, the US Conference of Mayors became the third major national association of local elected officials to adopt an organizational resolution supporting EPR. The National League of Cities and the National Association of Counties adopted resolutions in 2009.

EPR is a policy approach to that makes product brand owners responsible for “cradle to cradle” design and recycling of their products and associated packaging. EPR policies are common in Europe, Canada Japan and other countries for a wide variety of products. They are relatively new to the United States but are rapidly gaining support. Twenty-two states currently have EPR policies for electronic waste.

Local governments started organizing in California in 2006 by starting the California Product Stewardship Council to promote a policy shift away from disposal bans to EPR to manage hazardous product waste. Product Policy Institute (PPI) helped CPSC form and develop the first local EPR resolution which has been the model for subsequent resolutions across the country as well as that of the US Conference of Mayors. PPI also helped local governments start Product Stewardship Councils in California, Texas, New York, Vermont and Massachusetts.

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QUOTES

PPI — “Extended Producer Responsibility puts the costs of managing manufactured solid waste where they belong – on producers and consumers, rather than on taxpayers or garbage ratepayers.”

— Bill Sheehan, Executive Director, Product Policy Institute

California — “Santa Clara County spends $4 million to collect hazardous waste from five percent of households. Making taxpayers pay for services that should be included in product prices needs to stop – we have privatized the profit and socialized the cost and it has resulted in huge increases in toxic products entering the marketplace.”

— Rob D’Arcy, Hazardous Materials Program Manager, Santa Clara County; Chair, California Product Stewardship Council

New York — “Producer responsibility is the fair and environmentally wise next step for waste management. EPR legislation will give producers the incentive to design products less toxic and easier to reuse and recycle.”

— Tom Rhoads, Executive Director, Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency; Steering Committee, New York Product Stewardship Council

Texas — “Many producers are disconnected from their products that have end-of-life disposal challenges. Rising costs of solid waste management are an unfair burden to local government and taxpayers. Local governments are tired of being the only ones ‘left holding the bag’.”

Kim Mote, Chair of the Texas Product Stewardship Council

Minnesota — “Producer responsibility systems have many benefits to the economy and the environment. EPR systems will save taxpayer money, discourage throwaway products and packaging, and create jobs in recycling.”

— Victoria Reinhardt, Commissioner, Ramsey County Minnesota; leader, National Association of Counties’ Environment, Energy and Land Use Committee

Massachusetts — “Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for disposal of toxic or hard-to-recycle products. That responsibility belongs to those who designed these products and those who chose to purchase them.”

— Rebecca Lisi, City Councilor, Holyoke

Rhode Island — “The goal of this resolution is simple: if you make a product that causes environmental damage, or is expensive to dispose of, you should pay the cost of cleaning up that damage and disposing of the products properly.”

— Providence City Councilman Seth Yurdin, Ward 1

Product Policy Institute’s Local Resolution Page — http://www.productpolicy.org/content/local-epr-resolutions

Learn more about EPR: http://www.productpolicy.org/content/about-epr

California — See http://www.calpsc.org/policies/local/index.html

New York — Fulton, Wayne, Niagara, Broome and Washington Counties; Town of Southold; Onondaga County RRA

Minnesota — Cities of Minneapolis, Buffalo and Roseville; Dakota and Washington County; Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board

Massachusetts — Cities of Holyoke, Milton, Springfield and Salem

Texas — Cities of Austin, Plano, Lewisville and Denton

Rhode Island — City of Providence

About Product Policy Institute:

The Product Policy Institute (PPI) is a non-partisan research, communication and educational organization promoting policies that advance sustainable production and consumption, and good governance in North America. Founded in 2003, PPI works with communities and their local governments to advocate for policies that establish cradle-to-cradle producer responsibility for products and packaging.

For more information, visit www.productpolicy.org. P.O. Box 48433, Athens, GA 30604 * Tel: 706-613-0710 * info@productpolicy.org.