$500 million and counting....
That’s what Californians spend each year to manage products that have been banned from landfills. And the price tag keeps growing as more toxic and problematic products are banned. Garbage rate payers and taxpayers foot the bill for expensive disposal programs for common items like paint, pesticides, fluorescent lights, pharmaceuticals and batteries. But how is this helping? Shouldn’t we be looking at the source of the problem?
Despite our best efforts to recycle more, we still throw away as much today as we did in 1990: 40 million tons per year, and approximately seventy-five percent of that is product and packaging waste! The price tag keeps growing as more toxic and problematic products are banned from landfill.
Producer Responsibilty - a Plan for the Future l
Producers hold the key to greener design. Only the producer can design less toxic products that are easy to reuse, repair and recycle, and can use less wasteful packaging. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), or product stewardship, means whoever designs, produces, or sells a product takes responsibility for minimizing its negative environmental impacts. This means everything from designing it better in the first place to taking responsibility for it at the end of the product’s useful life.
Product stewardship is not a new concept. In Canada, Europe, Japan and other countries, many of the same producers who sell products in the U.S. are already part of successful product stewardship programs. The same producers who aren’t doing it here – because they don’t have to.
Consumers want to know the products they buy are safe and want convenient disposal options so they can do the right thing. No one wants to flush unused medicines down the toilet or throw batteries in the trash, but without convenient disposal options, what can consumers do?
It’s time for California to take a stand against product and packaging waste through meaningful public policy that will require producers to take the responsibility for managing their product waste.
How you can help:
- Reduce, reuse, recycle
- Buy recycled - support recycling markets
- Take advantage of take back programs
- Ask retailers to take back what they sell
Reprinted with permission from the California Product Stewardship Council.
Product stewardship means designing it green and taking it back. The California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) believes it is best to the let the private sector design and operate recycling systems for their product waste primarily because the private sector can operate more convenient and cost-effective collection systems than the government can.