Product stewardship bill is back

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Feb. 12, 2010 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Assemblymember Wes Chesbro (D-Arcata) has submitted a bill to the Legislative Counsel which will again attempt to give the Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (DRR&R) (previously the Integrated Waste Management Board, now minus the Board) the responsibility to develop, implement and administer product stewardship programs.  This bill establishes a framework approach for managing products that they feel have significant end-of-life impacts on the environment and public health. 

The goal of the bill is to reduce the role of local government, ratepayers and cost to the state, and transfer the responsibility and costs for managing the programs to the product producers.  This concept is known as “extended producer responsibility”. 

The bill requires companies to establish a “Product Stewardship Plan” with strategies and goals to increase collection, reuse and recycling.  Producers must consult with stakeholders during development of the plan, solicit comments and make responses prior to submitting the plan to DRR&R with a $10,000 application fee. Annual fees thereafter would be $1,000.  Companies could be fined up to $10,000 per day for non-compliance. 

Currently the bill only addresses five product categories, but it will eventually encompass as many as 70.  The five product categories are:

  1. Sharps, including hypodermic needles, syringes with needles, blades and other needles;
  2. Residential pesticide containers;
  3. Small personal use propane tanks;
  4. Personal butane lighters; and
  5. Single use food packaging types found to be a significant source of ocean and beach contamination.

Local jurisdictions have seen their costs to divert materials from landfills skyrocket as they strive to reach higher diversion goals. Costs rise as the State increases the number of products designated as hazardous.  Costs rise as recycling volumes increase. Costs rise as more in the society relish disposability.  Yet,  local governments are uncomfortable placing true costs of waste management onto their residents. This will be a high-priority bill for CMTA.

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