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[GreenYes] Fwd: Excerpts on EPR from latest Federal report on Recycling

Apologies for Cross-Postings

>Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 14:04:53 -0800
>From: "Steve Sherman" <SSherman@no.address>
>Below is a link to the GAO website where you can access a copy of
>GAO's recycling report, Recycling: Additional Efforts Could Increase
>Municipal Recycling, which was released to the public on January 29,
>Steven Sherman
>ESA | Solid Waste Group
>436 14th Street, Suite 600
>Oakland, CA 94612
>tel 510.839.5066 | ssherman@no.address

Excerpts on EPR
pp.19 - 21 "The policy option identified third most frequently by
recycling stakeholders as a top priority was to require manufacturers
to establish a system that consumers can use to recycle their
products, also known as producer "take back" programs.30 Stakeholders
commented that producer take back programs would be most useful for
certain products, such as electronics, paint, and carpet, that are
difficult to recycle or may contain a high level of toxicity. Those
stakeholders that selected producer take back programs as a top
priority cited several reasons for their choice. One stakeholder said
that take back programs would make it easier for the public to
recycle certain products. Others asserted that requiring producers to
provide take back programs for their products would motivate them to
design products and packaging that can be more easily recycled. Two
stakeholders we interviewed noted that requiring producers to provide
a system for recycling their products would also ease the financial
burden on municipalities by shifting some of the responsibility for
waste disposal from local governments to consumers and manufacturers.
Moreover, solid waste officials from one state we visited highlighted
the importance of establishing a federal standard. Specifically, they
pointed out that having a federal standard for electronic waste was
preferable to leaving it up to the states, which could result in 50
different standards. We reported a similar conclusion with respect to
electronic waste in 2005, when we noted that, in the absence of a
federal standard, an emerging patchwork of state policies may place a
substantial burden on manufacturers, retailers, and recyclers.31
Government officials and industry representatives suggested that some
oppose mandatory producer take back programs because they can be
logistically complicated and may impose additional costs on producers
and retailers, which are often passed on to consumers through higher prices.

Several U.S. states have enacted legislation requiring take back
programs for certain products. For example, in 2004, Maine passed a
law requiring industry to take back and recycle the discarded
computer monitors and televisions that municipalities collect.32 In
addition, as of July 2006, California requires that retailers of cell
phones collect used products for reuse, recycling, or proper
disposal.33 Moreover, according to the Battery Council International,
a lead-acid battery trade organization, 37 states currently have laws
requiring retailers to take back lead-acid batteries that were used
in cars and trucks. Specific companies have also established take
back programs for their products. For example, Dell Inc., a
manufacturer of personal computers, offers consumers free recycling
of Dell products.

EPA is promoting voluntary extended product responsibility
programs,34 such as take back programs, and has identified a number
of priority products, including electronics, batteries, and carpet,
for which some kind of extended product responsibility action is
warranted. EPA has participated in negotiations among government and
industry officials to establish extended product responsibility
agreements for priority product categories. For example, in 2001, EPA
participated in multistakeholder negotiations with state governments,
non-governmental organizations, and the carpet industry that resulted
in a Memorandum of Understanding for Carpet Stewardship. This
agreement established carpet recycling targets and has produced
design innovations to make carpets more recyclable. EPA also sponsors
the Plug-In To eCycling campaign, which fosters partnerships with
industry and state and local governments to make recycling used
electronics less expensive and more convenient for consumers. In
2004, Plug-In To eCycling sponsored four pilot projects, all of which
involved holding collection events at retailers such as Best Buy,
Good Guys, Office Depot, Staples, and Target. Through the Plug-In To
eCycling campaign, over 45 million pounds of used consumer
electronics have been collected in the United States since 2003. In
addition to its national programs, EPA regional offices have also
helped to negotiate local take back programs and collection events
for electronics."

Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485
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