Product stewardship means that all parties involved in designing, manufacturing, selling and using a product take responsibility for environmental impacts at every stage of that product's life.
In particular, product stewardship requires manufacturers to share in the financial and physical responsibility for collecting and recycling products at the end of their useful lives. When manufacturers share the costs of recycling products, they have an incentive to use recycled materials in new products and design products to be less toxic and easier to recycle, incorporating environmental concerns into the earliest phases of product design.
Product stewardship encourages manufacturers, retailers and consumers to treat products as resources rather than waste, changing how they think about the products they make, buy and use.
Minnesota passed legislation in 2013 establishing a new product stewardship program for architectural paint.
Estimates the life-cycle greenhouse emissions associated with the production, transport, and disposal of carpets consumed by California residential and commercial buildings, and the potential for reducing these emissions through improvements to product design, manufacturing, and end-of-life product management.
Advancing market-based solutions that increase landfill diversion and recycling of post-consumer carpet, encourage design for recyclability and meet meaningful goals as approved by the CARE Board of Directors.
Summary of efforts to manage mercury-containing lamps in Minnesota and other states.
This program will allow Washington residents to recycle fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and high intensity discharge lights (HIDs), at no charge, at authorized collection sites throughout that state.
In 2010 Washington established a producer-financed product stewardship program for the collection, transportation and recycling of mercury-containing lights.
Proposed program for the recycling of mercury-containing lamps.
Vermont's Department of Environmental Conservation oversees administration and enforcement of the law.
Maine law requires manufacturers of mercury-added lamps to provide residents with a free, convenient recycling program for household mercury-added lamps.
Licensees/Industry Stewards financially support the Call2Recycle program through the licensing and placement of battery seals on their rechargeable batteries and/or battery-powered products.
This federal law phases out the use of mercury in batteries and provides for the efficient and cost-effective disposal of used batteries, including nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd), used small sealed lead-acid (SSLA) batteries. The statute applies to battery and product manufacturers, waste handlers, and select importers and retailers.
Summary of efforts to manage waste primary and secondary batteries in Minnesota and other states.
Assesses the extent to which single-use alkaline battery life cycle greenhouse gas emissions might be reduced through possible product design, manufacturing, and end-of-life management strategies introduced under a producer’s EPR initiatives.
Discussion of mattresses in the 2015 Solid Waste Policy Report.
A non-profit organization formed by the industry to operate recycling programs (called Bye Bye Mattress) in states that have enacted mattress recycling laws.
Assesses the energy and greenhouse gas implications of using different end-of-life management methods for mattresses and box springs.
Minnesota and product stewardship
In 1999, the state of Minnesota adopted the first product stewardship policy in the United States. In general, the state has chosen to pursue the product stewardship objectives articulated in the policy through voluntary efforts.
The MPCA is working with the Minnesota Legislature, state agencies and other stakeholders to promote the development of product stewardship policies.
Nationally, many organizations are endorsing the principles of product stewardship.
The MPCA is committed to working cooperatively with businesses, non-governmental organizations, retailers and others to develop voluntary commitments to increase the collection and recycling of identified consumer products. In 2001, Minnesota participated in an effort with the state governments, U.S. EPA, and the carpet industry to develop the first national product stewardship agreement in the U.S. MPCA will continue to identify opportunities to promote product stewardship in this manner.
The MPCA is interested in developing partnerships with manufacturers, retailers and local governments to test various product stewardship models.
Support for manufacturer initiatives
The MPCA promotes product stewardship through support for manufacturers' initiatives. For instance, Sony Corporation's national recycling program for Sony-branded consumer electronics grew out of a program they first tested in Minnesota.
Procurement by government agencies and large commercial entities offers an important avenue to support product stewardship objectives. MPCA is working with purchasers to incorporate product stewardship into their specifications. For example, the state is promoting contract language that requires carpet manufacturers to assume responsibility for recycling old carpet when new carpet is installed.
For more information on Minnesota's product stewardship efforts:
John Gilkeson, 651-757-2391