Did EPA drop the ball with toxic chemicals in children’s products?

With little fanfare or media coverage, on July 21st the U.S. Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency issued an evaluation of the EPA’s Voluntary Chemical Evaluation Program pilot – and gave the program a thumbs-down. Continue reading

Easy ways to recycle almost anything – Part 2

When it comes to recycling, after “the usual” stuff (plastic, paper, etc.), the next level gets pretty interesting and diverse. Retailers have jumped in to make it easy for consumers. Here’s another list of resources you may find useful.

Continue reading

Computer memory manufacturer launches a memory card take-back program

Kingston Technology – a leading manufacturer of memory products for computers and other electronics including memory modules, USB drives, SD and microSD cars – has partnered with California-based Electronic Recyclers (ERI)- the largest electronics recycler in North America – to launch the first-ever mail-back program for unwanted memory cards and other memory products.

Continue reading

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.

National Recycling and Product Stewardship Become a Reality

On January 15th, the Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company (MRM( will begin electronics recycling nationwide.

Founded by Panasonic Corporation of North America, Sharp Electronics Corp. and Toshiba America Consumer Products LLC. MRM will have at least one recycling station in every state, with 280 in all. Plans call for having at least 800 drop-off stations by 2011.

Any of those companies’ electronics can be dropped off and recycled for free.

David Thompson, MRM president, stated that the company is also committed to eliminating hazardous electronic waste exportation to third world countries, an escalating world health crisis.

Consumers reap rewards with electronics recycling

Hewlett Packard has expanded their Consumer Buyback and Planet Partners Recycling Program. Now consumers can log onto HP’s website and find out the value of their used electronics.

Be it a computer, monitor, digital camera, personal digital assistant or smart-phone, simply go to their website and get a quote, then, if there’s some value, send the equipment to HP and receive cash back.

Simple and easy. And, if the equipment isn’t of value, consumers can still recycle it for free. That goes for recycling Compac as well.

Once again, HP’s product stewardship leads the way for other electronics giants to hopefully follow in their footsteps.

More States Steward Mercury Disposal

Mercury disposal is a big health concern. Approximately 50 million mercury-containing thermostats – each containing an average of 4 grams of mercury – are still in homes in the U.S..Though 15 states in the U.S. ban or restrict their sale and manufacturers no longer produce them, mercury thermostats are legally sold in 35 states.
Some states have passed legislation covering proper mercury thermostat and recycling. The latest states to join this bandwagon are California and Pennsylvania. They join 4 other states – Maine, New Hampshire, Iowa and Vermont – to regulate this proven environmental hazard.Kudos to the Product Stewardship Institute   

www.productstewardship.us, a national non-profit organization, for creating the model that thermostat manufacturers, heating and cooling contractors, retailers and government officials can follow to establish collection and recycling programs. Consumers now have accessible options for safely disposing of outdated equipment containing this hazardous material.