The California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) (www.calpsc.org) is driving a paradigm shift in the way California and the United States manages product waste to reduce public costs and foster green design to improve the reparability, reusability, recyclability, and compostability of products at the end of life. CPSC made significant strides through presentations to diverse stakeholders, conducting research and publicizing findings, and developing strategic partnerships with corporations, nonprofits, sanitation districts and others to advocate for collaborative Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) approaches. These efforts have resulted in the successful passage of EPR legislation in California pertaining to Mercury Thermostats, Paint and Carpet with industry support and no opposition.
CPSC’s mission is to transform California’s product waste management system from one focused on government funded and ratepayer financed waste diversion, to one that relies primarily on producer responsibility, in order to reduce public costs and drive improvements in product design that promote environmental sustainability. The mission was born from the imposition of California’s Universal Waste (U-waste) disposal ban of 2006 and was the catalyst for forming CPSC. This ban made it illegal to landfill residentially-generated mercury containing fluorescent lights, household batteries, mercury switches, and electronics and put the responsibility for implementation and enforcement on local government.
The U-waste disposal ban was followed by a ban on sharps (needles, syringes, lancets, etc.) in 2008 and it is anticipated that pharmaceutical waste will likely be the next product banned from disposal. These bans put tremendous pressure on local governments to create and fund alternatives to landfilling that are convenient for consumers, but the burden is simply overwhelming, particularly when the producers who design the products and profit from their sale, are not required to share in the responsibility. Landfill bans, though well-intended, are unfunded and unenforceable. Local governments do not have adequate funds, resources or capacity to effectively manage all toxic products under current laws and circumstances.
For the most up-to date information visit the CPSC website.