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By Russ Martin, GlobalPSC CEO
Our current travels are reinforcing the evolving nature of product stewardship. After recently highlighting the evolution of established programs in Canada, we are now seeing evolution of New Zealand’s e-scrap program and the need to better understand how the chemical industry and related players are viewing product stewardship globally.
Product Stewardship from a Risk and Hazard Perspective
I am currently in Singapore for the Asia Pacific OH Conference led by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and recently-formed Product Stewardship Society (PSS).
As part of a professional development course, I presented on Australia’s chemical assessment and notification requirements in addition to outlining global developments in product stewardship. The presentation will be made available for members on the GlobalPSC Knowledge Base.
The GlobalPSC is a supporter of the event as part of our ongoing outreach within the Asia Pacific region. It also provides an excellent opportunity to better understand regulatory approaches within Asia and to see firsthand how chemical industry giants such as BASF, ExxonMobil Chemical, Shell and others view and implement a version of product stewardship that is different than what most of our colleagues traditionally consider to be product stewardship.
We have long said that product stewardship encompasses broader sustainability issues and entire supply chains. Considerable resources are being directed to a form of product stewardship that is focused on toxicity, risk assessments, hazard reduction and notification requirements that can span 30-40,000 or more products, such as the European REACH requirements.
Fundamental commercial issues such as ability to introduce products into global markets are hot topics of conversation. The focus is not necessarily on traditional considerations such as end of life management, product recovery and costs to local waste management and recycling programs. While ‘our version’ of product stewardship may seem to pale in significance when billions of dollars are at stake, as we see the continued evolution of supply chains there are potential impacts on material substitution, hazards and toxicity (some of the traditional concerns of producer responsibility) that warrant bringing these different views of product stewardship together. We are actively exploring areas of collaboration with the AIHA and PSS to help do so.
We will be providing more detailed analysis of this event for GlobalPSC members, in addition to highlights from next week’s discussions in Taiwan and Electronics Recycling Asia the following week back here in Singapore.
New Zealand Update
One of the GlobalPSC’s longest-serving members, WasteMINZ, conducts an annual conference that serves as the main gathering of the waste and recycling industry in New Zealand. While product stewardship has been a regular theme, its importance was highlighted more in this year’s event than in the previous several years the GlobalPSC has participated.
This year, we were invited to speak on e-scrap, global developments in product stewardship and voluntary vs. regulatory approaches to product stewardship. Interest in the topic and the importance of GlobalPSC members was especially evident in that speakers also included GlobalPSC members Lion, Infoactiv, Sustainability Victoria, eDay New Zealand Trust and 3R Group. In addition, Liz Goodwin of the UK’s WRAP program joined us, and the New Zealand Ministry for Environment was well evident in attendance.
To date, the New Zealand government has focused on a voluntary approach to product stewardship, featuring the accreditation of nine programs to date. In addition, the government has provided funding to assist in the establishment of collection points for e-scrap and a public education campaign on the program’s availability for consumers.
However, pressure has continued to build for a more traditional product stewardship approach for e-scrap in New Zealand. The GlobalPSC and several members, including recycler TES-AMM, were asked to participate in initial discussions on such an approach and to share lessons from the development and implementation of Australia’s National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme as well as other international programs.
A New Zealand approach won’t necessarily be easy, but it is doable. Australia’s hurdles of low population and market influence, recovery volumes and high logistics costs are further exacerbated in New Zealand. However, a shared e-scrap standard with Australia and key players active in both countries provide a good basis for collaboration. A fresh approach to actively engaging these key stakeholders, improving on some pre-existing relationships, moving forward from the blame game and building upon existing infrastructure and material flows will be essential first steps.
Priority Product Stewardship
We are seeing an especially strong response from members and other interested parties to the priority product stewardship workshop that the GlobalPSC is holding 18 November in Australia. The workshop features GlobalPSC members PaintCare, Call2Recycle and the Product Care Association. Panel participants will also include GlobalPSC members representing the Australian paint industry and the state governments leading efforts to develop product stewardship initiatives for batteries and paint, Queensland and Victoria, respectively.
We’ll have speakers from four countries addressing paint, batteries, household hazardous waste and a range of other products as part of the GlobalPSC’s facilitation of national product stewardship approaches for batteries and paint in Australia. We are lucky to have these global leaders on product recovery making themselves available to share their insights as Australia seeks to evolve several product stewardship initiatives.
Thanks to our principal speakers and other members TES-AMM and DHL Supply Chain, we can make the workshop available at no charge for GlobalPSC members. However, registration is necessary so let us know if you’ll be able to join us.
The Global Product Stewardship Council is presenting at or attending the following events:
- WasteMINZ Conference, 21-24 October in Rotorua, New Zealand
- 2013 Asia Pacific OH Conference + Exhibition, 29 – 31 October in Singapore
- Electronics Recycling Asia, 12–15 November in Singapore
- GlobalPSC Priority Product Stewardship Workshop, 18 November in Port Melbourne, Australia
- Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo, 19-20 November in Melbourne, Australia
- Packaging Waste & Sustainability Forum, 4-5 March 2014 in Brussels, Belgium
At each of these events, we will be promoting the involvement of GlobalPSC members and our activities.
During the recent Conference on Canadian Stewardship in Toronto, EPR Canada (EPRC) launched the results of its extended producer responsibility (EPR) Report Card 2012 as part of its efforts to see full EPR implemented across Canada. Based on government responses to a questionnaire, EPR Canada had British Columbia and Quebec leading the pack with each graded as a B+ and the Federal Government lagging with a grade of F.
According to EPRC, the report card “assessed and graded each jurisdiction’s submission based on their response to a set of questions that reflect best practices for the development and implementation of EPR policies and programs under three categories:
- Commitment – indicators that each government, as a member of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) is following through on its commitment to adopt the principles of extended producers responsibility in compliance with the CCME Canada‐wide Action Plan on EPR, and is developing EPR policies and programs
- Implementation – examples of how each government is implementing policies and practices to support producer performance
- Accountability – indicators that each government has mechanisms in place to measure and report on producer performance”.
Sustainability Victoria (SV) contributes to a liveable and prosperous Victoria by delivering integrated waste management and resource efficiency programs. SV supports and complements the work of portfolio partners including the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, EPA Victoria and the Metropolitan and Regional Waste Management Groups.
SV implements government policies and initiatives by delivering targeted programs with a measureable impact in integrated waste management and resource efficiency (energy and materials). This includes increasing the recovery of priority products and materials that contribute weight and pose a risk and/or are a valuable resource. SV seeks to increase the recovery of priority products such as paint, batteries, tyres and household toxic products by supporting industry through product stewardship schemes and direct government activities.
PaintCare Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, working to provide environmentally sound and cost-effective paint recycling programs in states with paint stewardship laws.
The organization was created by the American Coatings Association (ACA), a membership-based trade association for the paint industry.
ACA, working with state and local government, developed the model paint stewardship legislation that was first passed in Oregon in 2009. This legislation provided for an industry-led pilot program to manage postconsumer (leftover) paint. PaintCare has similar programs in California and Connecticut and is planning programs in Rhode Island, Vermont, Minnesota, Maine and Colorado. Legislation is expected to be introduced in several other states in the next few years.
In states with PaintCare, many new paint drop-off locations are established, mostly at paint retailers who volunteer to take back paint. These retailers take back paint during regular business hours making paint recycling and disposal much more convenient for the public. Operating costs are funded through an assessment (fee per container) on sales of paint in each state. The paint manufacturing industry supports the laws because they enable the paint industry to implement a while providing a level playing field among manufacturers and retailers. These laws also provide a sustainable financing system and an anti-trust exemption for activities pursuant to the program. To find out more about PaintCare, please visit the PaintCare website.
On 13 August 2013, battery stakeholders and government representatives met in Brisbane to discuss the development of a national battery product stewardship scheme for Australia. The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), a GlobalPSC member, is the lead jurisdiction on batteries for Australia’s governments.
Workshop attendees considered four questions in relation to a scheme—
- the vision for the program;
- the scope (which types of batteries should be covered and why);
- the form of the scheme and;
- effectiveness of the program in addressing the public policy and business case considerations.
After opening comments and discussions with The Hon. Andrew Powell, Queensland’s Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, attendees were split into four groups to discuss each question separately. The groups then reported back and their responses were compiled. A summary of the workshop has been posted on the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC Members.
(L-R: Dr Diana Wright, First Assistant Secretary, Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; Andrew Chesterman, Director-General, EHP; Fiona Proctor, Minister’s Media Advisor; The Hon. Andrew Powell, Minister for EHP; Tony Roberts, Deputy Director-General, EHP; Bill Ford of Toshiba)
The GlobalPSC and its members have been active in the program’s development. GlobalPSC Foundation Members MS2 led the development of the business and public policy case for battery stewardship on behalf of Australia’s Victorian Government. The report was circulated to attendees in advance of the workshop. GlobalPSC CEO Russ Martin, who was recently appointed as the independent chair of Australia’s Battery Implementation Working Group, facilitated the workshop. The GlobalPSC also facilitated earlier discussions on battery product stewardship with one of our longest-standing government members, Sustainability Victoria, and the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative.
18 November, 2013
DHL, 18-22 Salmon St, Port Melbourne, Australia
Australia has released a priority list of products potentially covered under the Product Stewardship Act 2011. The designated products include:
• Waste paint
• End-of-life handheld batteries
• End-of-life air conditioners with small gas charges
• End-of-life refrigerators with small gas charges
The Act provides a framework for establishing voluntary, co-regulatory and regulatory approaches for product stewardship. Australia’s Environment Ministers have also developed plans for paint and battery product stewardship. The GlobalPSC is helping the Commonwealth and state governments facilitate the efforts for batteries and paint.
The GlobalPSC is bringing global leaders on product-specific producer responsibility collection and reprocessing initiatives to help identify and learn from international best practice to assist these efforts. Featured international speakers include:
• Carl Smith, CEO and President, Call2Recycle (North America)
• Alison Keane, Vice President Government Affairs, American Coatings Association
• Mark Kurschner, President, Product Care Association (North America)
• Corinne Faure-Rochu, Director Business Development, Recupyl (France)
Panel sessions will include these speakers and other product-specific experts on batteries and paint from the USA and Australia. A special evening function will enable even greater access to this international line-up for GlobalPSC members. Full program and details are available here.
Attendance is free for GlobalPSC members in proportion to their membership level (5 free for Sustaining Members, 2 for Standard Members and 1 for other categories) but registrations are necessary for catering. Registrations are $299 plus GST for non-members of the GlobalPSC. Event details, registration and payment information are available at http://globalpsc.eventbrite.com.au. Lunch will be provided for registered attendees.
The eDay New Zealand Trust was established in 2010 to promote the development and implementation of product stewardship schemes for electronic waste in New Zealand and Pacific Island countries. The Trust, previously known as the Computer Access New Zealand Trust (CANZ), was responsible for national eDay e-waste collection events, held annually throughout New Zealand from 2007 and piloted in the Cook Islands in 2010. The Trust believes that e-waste product stewardship should be mandatory and free to the consumer dropping off end-of-life equipment.
The Trust’s view is that voluntary product stewardship schemes will not work for e-waste and that central government must regulate to ensure compliance by all stakeholders. The Trust supports the Australian co-regulatory approach and advocate the development of something similar in New Zealand aligned with Australia.