A not-for-profit industry-sponsored association, Product Care has been helping its members protect the environment by diverting household hazardous and special waste from ending up in landfills and waterways, since 1994.
It began with just one product and one province – paint in British Columbia. Now, in response to an increasing number of government-mandated “extended producer responsibility” regulations, Product Care manages a variety of product stewardship programs, from paint and flammables to lighting and fire alarms, in eight provinces across Canada.
Product Care also provides program management services for small appliance, major appliance and outdoor power equipment product stewardship programs. In addition, Product Care worked with PaintCare™ in the U.S. to establish the first paint recycling program in Oregon and then California. For a full list of programs and to learn more about Product Care, visit productcare.org.
Product Care’s President Mark Kurschner serves on the GlobalPSC Executive Committee and as a member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group.
Neil Hastie Retires from Encorp Pacific (Canada) and Assumes Greater Responsibility with the GlobalPSC
Neil has over 15 years’ experience running extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs in British Columbia, Canada. Prior to joining Encorp Pacific in 1998, Neil had been a senior executive in the retail industry for more than 30 years.
One of Neil’s long-term colleagues, Malcolm Harvey, reflected on some of the factors for Neil’s success and his value to the GlobalPSC,
“Neil is a very disarming fellow. His approachable and modest attitude belies the fact that behind it lies an incisive and decisive intellect. His concern for others is genuine and he is unlikely to be swayed by emotion alone; he is, fundamentally, a pragmatist. One reason I think he has been successful at Encorp is his belief that the core need is to identify the high ground in any debate and never, ever be pushed or step down from it.”
“Neil was one of the first senior executives to discover that product stewardship was one of the few places where business practices and experience could be successfully partnered with a truly beneficial objective. The transition from the business of selling chocolates to that of collecting bottles and cans could have been a wrenching one but it was a change he made in a heartbeat. I think he simply found his calling. That he will continue to be involved in product stewardship in various forms only confirms that for me.”
GlobalPSC CEO Russ Martin stated,
“Neil has carved out a strong reputation in North America and beyond, which is part of why we asked him to join the GlobalPSC board and more recently to become President. He’s earned a great deal of respect and admiration over the years. We’re looking forward to Neil having even more time for the GlobalPSC, when he’s not with his family or on a golf course, that is.”
TechCollect is an Australia-wide recycling service for old computer and accessories, printers and TVs. It is part of a big effort by industry and the Australian government to reduce the amount of electronic waste that goes into landfill through the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.
TechCollect is funded by some of the world’s leading technology importers and manufacturers, and was set up by the Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform Limited (ANZRP), the only not-for-profit e-waste recycling service approved by the government under the Scheme.
Some key outcomes under the Scheme include:
- Give all Australians reasonable access to an e-waste collection service by December 2013;
- Increase recycling of e-waste diverted from landfill from 10-17% to 30% in the first year;
- Aim to increase recycling of e-waste to 80% by the year 2021–2022; and
- Ensure that 90% of raw materials are recovered during the recycling process for reuse.
The TechCollect program provides the Australian community with services that enable them to safely dispose of their e-waste and have it recycled for free.
ANZRP is required to collect and recycle a specific volume of e-waste each financial year and provide ‘reasonable access’ to e-waste collection services across Australia, as defined by regulation. The target is calculated from the volume to be recycled (liability) for the scheme based on the number of televisions and computers and their peripherals that are manufactured and imported in Australia each year. ANZRP’s volume is then determined from this and is based on the volume imported and manufactured by its members (as liable parties). As at 30 June 2014, ANZRP had successfully met its volume and ‘reasonable access’ targets for the second year of the scheme.
Liable parties may also run their own recycling programs – known as Individual Producer Responsibility programs (IPR). The volume of e-waste recycled from these programs is reported through the ANZRP/TechCollect. The volume from the IPR counts towards the volume of e-waste TechCollect must collect and recycle.
TechCollect ensures its recycling standards focus on keeping old technology out of landfill in Australia and overseas, and protecting the health and safety of workers.
All products collected by TechCollect are recycled. They are broken down in Australia into their individual parts and materials. The components and materials are then processed so that the valuable resources can be recovered and reused when manufacturing new products.
ANZRP evolved from the joint work of the AIIA Environmental Special Interest Group (ESIG) members being 13 major IT brands and the PSA (Product Stewardship Association formed by CESA) representing the major TV brands. This group representing industry played a significant role in the formation of the Product Stewardship Act and Regulations and in the development of the Interim Industry Standard. ANZRP’s establishment has been funded by the AIIA ESIG members and has their full support.
For those of us in the environmental movement, it might seem as if we are on a long hike, which keeps going and going and going, from peak to peak, and valley to valley. The landscape looks familiar, the challenges commonplace. There are times to rest, and times to move, times to seek shelter, and times to book it across wide open fields. And then there are times when you sit back and notice that you have come a long way, and that the process was enjoyable, and that the long days of trudging in mud got you to a place of beauty, and that the view is nothing like you could have imagined.
On July 1, I attended an event at a Sherwin Williams paint store in Branford, Connecticut, to mark the start of Connecticut’s paint stewardship program. Before Governor Dannel Malloy placed the first gallon of paint into the collection container, he spoke of the importance of keeping paint out of our storm drains and the Long Island Sound, and praised the industry for their product stewardship efforts. Dan Esty, Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, talked about the “new world of product stewardship” and how the paint program kick off represents the “next step in Connecticut’s move to building the waste management system of the 21st Century.”
One after the other, speakers walked to the makeshift podium at the corner of the paint store, amidst the colored strips of lavender and mauve, and praised the new paint program and its ability to save resources, save money, and create jobs.
There was a good feeling, and rolling out right in front of me, like a video documentary, was a paradigm shift of immense proportions, as Important People, from the Governor and his Administration, to key legislators, retailers, and paint manufacturers, praised the collaborative nature of this innovative program.
Tom Kelly, Sherwin Williams District Manager, mentioned the calls he already received on the first day of the program from residents seeking a place to bring leftover paint. “They come in just to drop off paint, but then see a clean store, and that we have what they need, and they leave a customer,” he said. Andy Doyle, President of the American Coatings Association, pledged the “support and backing of America’s paint industry” to recycle all the state’s leftover paint. The two chief bill sponsors – Sen. Ed Meyer and Rep. Patricia Widlitz – applauded the Governor and his team, as well as the industry, for their collaborative approach to finding a solution to a significant environmental problem, calling it “something really special.” They talked about the “terrific concept of producer responsibility” in which “paint manufacturers come up with their own plan to recycle.” State Rep. Lonnie Reed said that “…building in recycling and end-of-life elements into all of our products is important, and a sign of things to come.”
As I stood there listening, it struck me that product stewardship has become commonplace in Connecticut. PSI laid the groundwork for paint product stewardship in Connecticut and across the nation by convening paint manufacturers, retailers, state and local governments, and others in national meetings to hash out the agreements that led to this very moment. But the paint program in Connecticut would not have happened if each of the local stakeholders at that press event did not seize on the opportunity they were presented. The paint industry has now transformed itself from an industry that once saw consumers as the reason for leftover paint to one that has taken a leadership role to make sure leftover paint is recycled.
As our nation debates immigration reform, marriage equality, and voting rights, we can all sense shifts in public opinion that represent sea changes of immense proportion. This year marks a watershed moment in the product stewardship movement. To date, eight producer responsibility laws have passed this past year on four products in eight states: pharmaceuticals (Alameda County, CA; King County, WA); paint (Maine, Minnesota, and Vermont); mattresses (Connecticut and Rhode Island); and thermostats (New York). No, the entire country has not embraced producer responsibility; that will take decades. But we now have Governors and Commissioners speaking about an industry’s responsibility to manage its own waste, and an industry speaking glowingly about its partnership with regulatory agencies that allow it to assume its rightful responsibility.
This is the paradigm shift that many of us predicted in 2000 when the Product Stewardship Institute was created on that cold December day in Boston when over 100 government officials assembled to talk about a little known concept called product stewardship.
The times have changed. Sometimes it is nice to sit back and enjoy the show, and revel in the enjoyment that your hard work has provided to others. For many of us, now is that time.
The Global Product Stewardship Council recently joined Sustainability Victoria (SV), the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI), MobileMuster, recyclers including TES-AMM and various retailers in launching Batteryback across 34 retail locations in Melbourne, Australia. Batteryback is a free household battery collection and recycling service available at select Bunnings, Coles, HEARLINK, Michael’s Cameras, Queen’s Parade Hardware and Officeworks stores.
Australia has released a priority list of products potentially covered under the Product Stewardship Act 2011 (the Act). The Act provides a framework for establishing voluntary, co-regulatory and regulatory approaches for product stewardship. Under the Act, any future mandatory or co-regulatory approach must be preceded by 12 months notice before a particular product can have such a regulatory approach applied.
The designated products include:
- Waste architectural and decorative paint
- End-of-life handheld batteries (less than 2kg in weight)
- Packaging (and subsets of packaging, such as consumer packaging and beverage packaging)
- End-of-life air conditioners with small gas charges
- End-of-life refrigerators with small gas charges
The reasons given for their inclusion on the list are available here. In April 2013, Environment Ministers from Australia and New Zealand acting as the Standing Council on Environment and Water (SCEW) added end-of-life handheld batteries and waste paint to their work plan. Preparation of a Decision Regulation Impact Statement is also underway for packaging.
Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, sought advice from a range of sources including the Product Stewardship Advisory Group, the SCEW, jurisdictional priorities, industry stakeholders, and international obligations in determining the list.
The Global Product Stewardship Council and GlobalPSC members serving on the Product Stewardship Advisory Group include:
- Russ Martin – GlobalPSC CEO and Director of MS2 (Foundation Member)
- Karen Gomez – Chief Executive Officer, AgStewardship Australia (Sustaining Corporate Member)
- Rose Read – Manager, MobileMuster (Corporate Member), Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association
- John Gertsakis – Chief Sustainability Officer of Infoactiv
The GlobalPSC has been working closely with the Australian Government and jurisdictions to draw upon international experience and expertise to further develop sensible, practical product stewardship approaches.
John Gertsakis, Chief Sustainability Officer of Global Product Stewardship Council Corporate Member Infoactiv, has been named as a ‘Resources and Waste Leader’ in the 2013 WME Leaders List. This acknowledgement resulted from over 100 nominations and more than 1500 public votes. The GlobalPSC is pleased to have supported John’s nomination and see this recognition as further proof of the emergence of product stewardship.
The WME Leaders List is an annual event focused on recognising individuals and their leadership qualities. It is judged by industry experts and the WME readership, and highlights outstanding individual achievements that advance sustainability.
There is movement across the Asia Pacific region for increased e-waste recycling of unwanted electrical and electronic products, including televisions, computers, printers, appliances and batteries. In Australia, the scale of the problem is significant with an estimated 106,000 tonnes of televisions and computers (16.8 million units) reaching end-of-life in recent years, and the numbers are growing. The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme is leading the way with various industry organisations rolling out collection and recycling services across urban and regional areas.
John was involved from the outset in 2000 with early calls to establish a national approach to industry-funded e-waste recycling. Underpinned by relentless advocacy, his collaborative approach with government, industry and NGOs played a critical role in realising the Commonwealth Product Stewardship Act 2011.
As part of a specialist team at Infoactiv, John’s work on e-waste recycling is now expanding into new sectors, and is aimed at helping organisations minimise business risk and environmental harm from a hybrid of products and related waste such as laptops, appliances, batteries, commercial furniture and polystyrene.
Infoactiv’s Managing Director, Helen Jarman noted that:
“John’s knowledge, history and action on product sustainability is comprehensive, and spans over a decade of consulting to brands, OEMs, industry associations and governments in Australia and New Zealand. John’s WME accolade further accentuates the quality of commitment and expertise fostered at Infoactiv in pursuit of exceeding customer expectations.”
John’s commitment to ensuring long term solutions to e-waste recycling began in 1996 with Australia’s first comprehensive report on e-waste titled ‘Short Circuiting Waste from Electrical and Electronic Products’, published by RMIT University. He also advised the consumer electronics industry on the development of TV recycling in Australia.
John’s work on environmental stewardship has been further highlighted through his appointment to the Australian Government’s Product Stewardship Advisory Group, where his experience is directly relevant to recommending new products and wastes that could be addressed under the Product Stewardship Act.
In response to the Leaders List accolade, John said that:
“Being a WME Resources and Waste Leader is a wonderful honour and I feel truly humbled. More importantly it keeps product stewardship and e-waste recycling on the agenda. It also demonstrates that our customers and their investment in product recovery results in broader social, economic and environmental benefit.”
Global Product Stewardship Council CEO Russ Martin, nominated by peers to the Leaders List in the same category and also serving on the Product Stewardship Advisory Group, supported John’s win, saying,
“I have had the good fortune to work closely with John over the years, and was honoured to be nominated in the same category. John has long been a leader in product stewardship and is truly deserving of this broader recognition. We benefit from having strong GlobalPSC members such as John and Infoactiv, and we look forward to their ongoing contributions in our field.”
I recently returned from a series of events in Canada and the US that provided the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of GlobalPSC members and other key players in product stewardship and producer responsibility. In addition to demonstrating the maturation of product stewardship broadly, the trip highlighted several areas of increased activity, reinforced the business case for product stewardship and brought to my atttention various new possibilities. Without revealing sensitive discussions, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the main findings for our members; just log in to the Members Area then click here.
DHL, the world’s leading logistics company and a Sustaining Corporate member of the Global Product Stewardship Council, has announced that it will meet the recycling target of 18,500 tonnes of e-waste set by the Federal Government under Australia’s National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme and is on track to meet the “reasonable access” requirements of the Scheme. DHL Supply Chain’s Drop Zone service is free to residents and small businesses and helps support a number of social enterprises through employment opportunities across Australia.
“DHL Supply Chain is delighted to be leading the way in e-waste recycling in Australia. We’re proud to provide many Australians an alternative to landfill disposal and plan to make the service even more accessible to a greater number of people across Australia over the coming months with even more sites to go live,” said Peter Bruce, Senior Director, EnviroSolutions, DHL Supply Chain.
Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP said, “Congratulations to DHL on a successful first year of operations under the National Television and Computer Scheme. I wish DHL every success as the scheme continues to roll out across the country, providing Australian households and small businesses with access to free recycling drop-off points for their unwanted televisions and computers. DHL was the first organisation approved by the government to deliver services as part of this groundbreaking recycling initiative and it has certainly achieved a lot in one year.”
DHL Supply Chain now operates over 360 Drop Zones across Australia with many located at major retailers such as Harvey Norman and Officeworks making it easier for people to dispose their e-waste in an environmentally friendly manner. For exact locations of e-waste recycling Drop Zones, as well as their accepted products and opening hours, please visit the Drop Zone site.
A media release announcing DHL’s progress and providing additional information is available here.