States with the most Producer Responsibility laws

Extended Producer Responsibliity graphic

If you’re not familiar with the phrase Extended Producer Responsibility, it’s time to learn.

EPR is the larger picture of what’s necessary and what’s possible going well beyond recycling. It requires manufacturers to be accountable for the products they produce – its complete life cycle from beginning to its final and responsible disposal. It’s a way to dramatically reduce what goes into our landfills and increase the amount of waste that gets recycled and/or reused.

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Recycling and Product Responsibility programs reduce landfill waste

This is Part 1 of a 2-segment feature on California-based recycling and Product Stewardship programs. Check out Part 2 for recyclable specifics.

Recycle logoThe growing consumer demand for green products means that responsibly managing not-so-green products is crucial. California, which often leads the way with environmental issues, is working to create green solutions for “stuff” that until recently wasn’t recyclable.

Here’s the growing list of California’s recyclables.

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Pharmaceutical product stewardship moves towards greater reality

Drugs on tapAlmost a year ago I wrote about the growing problems of medications in our nation’s water supply.

Since then, the problem has grown. At the same time, a number of states and organizations have been pushing for product stewardship from manufacturers. To date, Maine holds the distinction of being the first state to pass Extended Producer Responsibility legislation. It’s widely held that the first products recommended for manufacturer “take backs” will be pharmaceuticals.

Today, Coventa Energy– which develops, owns and operates waste-to-energy facilities throughout the U.S. and Europe – announced it has begun a a free service to local governments as part of its national program to collected unwanted and unused pharmaceuticals.

It’s a good next step. But what’s really needed is standardized, mandated national EPR legislation. Without this, manufacturers can and will continue to drag their collective heels, waving their “not my problem” banner and sidestep what is rapidly becoming a safe drinking water crisis. Surely the politicians can find time to address this potent issue sometime soon.