Posts Tagged ‘US’

Scott Cassel – Executive Member of GlobalPSC Chief Executive Officer of the Product Stewardship Institute

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:00 pm, September 14th, 2017Comments12

Scott Cassel is the Chief Executive Officer Director and Founder of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), which has played a key role in sparking the U.S. product stewardship movement over the past decade. Prior to founding the Institute in 2000, Scott served seven years as the Director of Waste Policy and Planning for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.

He is a Founding Board Member of the Global Product Stewardship Council, which seeks to harmonize product stewardship policies and programs internationally. He is also a founding Board Member and past-President of the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association, whose mission is to reduce the toxicity of the municipal waste stream.

Scott has worked on product and waste management issues for the past 30 years, for a start-up solid waste management company, a non-profit statewide environmental group, and several other government agencies, including the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.

He is author of a comprehensive book chapter on product stewardship in the 2008 Handbook on Household Hazardous Waste. He was also a syndicated newspaper columnist in Massachusetts, including the Boston Business Journal. Scott has a master’s degree in environmental policy and dispute resolution from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an undergraduate degree in Geology and Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Garth Hickle – Executive Member of GlobalPSC Independent Consultant

Posted by GlobalPSC at 2:00 pm, September 14th, 2017Comments9

Garth Hickle is an independent consultant with an emphasis on environmental product policy and the circular economy. Previously, he led the product stewardship program for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

He currently serves as a board member of the Global Product Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Electronics Recycling Initiative (SERI).

He is also a Senior Lecturer and Visiting Scholar at the University of Minnesota.  He has published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, Journal of Cleaner Production, Resource Conservation and Recycling and Business Strategy and the Environment.

Garth holds a M.S.E.L. from Vermont Law School and a PhD in Industrial Ecology and Sustainability from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Guest Blog Addressing the Challenges of Measuring Recycling Performance

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:45 pm, June 8th, 2016Comments0

The Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is Carl Smith, President and CEO of Call2Recycle, Inc.

Prior to becoming the head of a non-profit 12 years ago, I had spent most of my career with big for-profit companies where we measured everything. These measures provided continuous feedback on what was working and what needed to be fixed (or stopped). Upon arriving in the non-profit, product stewardship world, I noted that much less was measured and that organizational performance metrics were at best elusive.

One of the biggest frustrations we have is how to accurately assess the performance of our battery recycling efforts. The recycling field has typically relied on “diversion rates” as a measure; specific to battery collection and recycling, the more specific “collection rate” measure is typically used. As has been defined by the EU, battery collection rate is defined by the amount recycled in a year divided by the average annual sales of batteries for the previous three years. Like “diversion rates”, a “collection rate” is expressed as a percentage.

Traditionally, the focus of the Call2Recycle® program in the US has been on collecting and recycling rechargeable batteries. For a variety of reasons, this ‘typical’ approach to measuring our performance simply didn’t make sense.

First, fairly soon after I took this position, it became clear that rechargeable battery companies simply do not know what their consumer battery sales are into any specific jurisdiction. There are simply too many channels, applications and value chains to even estimate sales. For a very simple example, let’s look at how a big retailer like Walmart operates in the US. It purchases in vast quantities directly from a manufacturing facility in Asia. The facility transports via container ship to a West Coast port where they are then trucked to a distribution facility in a Midwestern state. Given the North American Fair Trade Agreement (NAFTA), units could also be shipped to distribution centers in Canada and Mexico. Those distributions centers then fulfill store orders on a ‘just in time’ basis. So if you asked the manufacturer how many batteries it has sold in, for instance, the state of Vermont, it won’t know. It sold to Walmart and where they actually appeared in the US market is a mystery to them.

Second, the rechargeable batteries we’re collecting today are likely 5, 10 or even 20 years old. On average, they were certainly not sold during the three-year window that a typical collection rate calculation would measure. A related issue to this is the general inclination that consumers “hoard” electronics and batteries long after their useful life. How many old cellphones do you have sitting in a drawer? When is the last time you used your first power tool?

These issues are particularly difficult for rechargeable batteries which generally last longer than primary batteries, are hoarded more (with the products they power) and are sold through much more complex value chains. So the conventional approach to assessing our performance using a collection rate just didn’t work.

We commissioned a study to see if we could develop a methodology that was repeatable, credible and defensible that would provide us more insight into this issue. When we started the study, we focused on two stages:,

  1. develop a way of accurately measuring battery sales; and
  2. adjust sales for the lifespan of the batteries.

The more we immersed ourselves into this subject, a third issue emerged that was in the initial research requirements.

Increasingly, rechargeable batteries are designed so that they cannot be easily removed by the consumer, which generally means that they are not typically available to be recycled. Cellphones, tablets and laptops are the most obvious examples of this. But how about electric toothbrushes and cordless shavers? Even when the host product is recycled by, let’s say, an electronics recycler, the batteries are not typically the material most coveted in the process. Therefore, even if they are technically recycled with the host product, the process has not often been optimized to reclaim the precious material in the battery.

We maintain that embedded batteries are not generally available for collection by a battery stewardship program and should be excluded from the calculation of “collection rate”. So we added a third stage of this research: adjust sales downward by the amount of embedded batteries in order to determine an accurate assessment of the amount of batteries truly available for collection.

The outcome of this research – the paper available via this link – shows our results. It gives us a new denominator called “available for collection” that would replace the EU standards of the average of the last three years’ sales. In the end, we now say:

Collection Rate = Batteries Collected / Sales (Lifespan) – Embedded Batteries

In addition to the important data generated through this research, we came away with four important observations consistent with the conversation above:

  • For primary batteries, battery sales from “bricks and mortar” retail locations are less and less of the total market. There are many more diverse channels for batteries to enter the marketplace including, in particular, on-line markets.
  • A new method for measuring collection rates is needed for rechargeable batteries to measure collection performance. Such a method must meaningfully capture longer battery and product lifecycles and increases in embedded batteries.
  • While some but not all of the products that rechargeable batteries power are managed through other stewardship programs, they are generally getting “lost” in tracking performance.
  • It is imperative that collection programs incorporate long product lifecycles into their funding models, as batteries remain in market long after they are sold.

The last point is notable. Most battery stewardship programs charge stewards based on sales into the market. However, there may be a 20-year lag time between when steward fees are paid on a sale and when we incur the cost to collect and recycle the battery from that sale. This puts a strain on funding models that are often forced to minimize reserves that might take care of the long-term “tail” associated with rechargeable batteries.

In the end, we felt we “moved the needle” on creating a better way to measure performance. We also added to the conversation on the issues associated with battery collection and recycling. But we don’t believe we’ve totally solved the challenges, hopefully giving others the opportunity to contribute to this discussion.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Product Stewardship Council.  

Carl E. Smith is President and CEO of Call2Recycle, Inc., North America’s leading product stewardship organization. With more than 35 years’ experience in environmental issues, program development, advocacy, corporate communications and technology, Carl is a nationally and internationally recognized spokesperson and leader in the corporate responsibility, sustainability and product stewardship arena. Carl leads the Atlanta-based non-for-profit organization in its efforts to help preserve the environment through responsible recycling of batteries among other products. Carl is also a GlobalPSC Executive Committee member and our Treasurer.

Melissa Walsh Innes and Mark Kurschner Appointed to GlobalPSC Advisory Group

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:50 am, January 31st, 2015Comments1

We are proud to announce the appointment of two esteemed colleagues, Melissa Walsh Innes and Mark Kurschner, to the GlobalPSC Advisory Group.

The GlobalPSC and a number of our members have worked closely with Melissa and Mark over the years, and they bring a wealth of experience to these new roles on our Advisory Group.

As a legislator with the US state of Maine, Melissa was the sponsor of Maine’s first-in-the-nation Product Stewardship Framework Law of 2010, as well as the sponsor of a successful electronic recycling program expansion in 2011 (both enacted with unanimous bipartisan support). Melissa is the former deputy director for Recycling Reinvented, a US national nonprofit working to advance recycling policies to increase national recycling rates for packaging and printed paper. She is currently President of Innes & Company LLC, a US-based consultancy assisting clients around the globe in reaching their goals in the areas of product stewardship and sustainability.

Mark is the President of Product Care Association, a non-profit industry association that manages extended producer responsibility (EPR) and product stewardship programs across Canada and in the US. Product Care manages programs on behalf of its members and also as program manager for other stewardship organizations. Products and programs managed by Product Care include paint, lighting products, flammable liquids, pesticides, smoke alarms, as well as large and small appliances and outdoor power equipment. Product Care also worked with PaintCare to initiate the US Paint Recycling program and on January 1, 2015 launched the Washington State Mercury Containing Lamps program. Product Care also works with the US mattress industry for their product stewardship programs which also begin in 2015. Mark is a qualified lawyer and became the president of Product Care in 2002.

EPR’s Next Steps – US EPR Analysis by Scott Cassel

Posted by GlobalPSC at 2:19 pm, December 21st, 2014Comments0

scottBack in 2000 the terms “product stewardship” and “extended producer responsibility” were rarely uttered in the U.S. Today there are 84 EPR laws in 33 states across 12 product categories.

These laws are spreading both in the U.S. and around the world, and for three basic reasons: They have saved millions of dollars for government agencies, they have created jobs and they have reduced waste by using materials more sustainably.

A recent article posted by Scott Cassel of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) in the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC members provides a status update on EPR systems in the U.S. It identifies which products provide the greatest lessons and which offer new or emerging opportunities. It also lays out PSI’s ‘elements of a good EPR law’ and discusses key issues being debated in the field.

 

Webinar – Battery Stewardship Developments in the U.S. A Joint Government and Industry Regulatory Solution for Single Use + Rechargeable Batteries

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:52 pm, October 2nd, 2014Comments3

The United States is on the verge of breakthrough legislation for both primary (single-use) and rechargeable batteries. This shift from a voluntary approach to a regulatory approach covering both battery types has coalesced over the past six months, as an increasing number of government agencies have expressed interest in a legislative solution to household battery management. This webinar will discuss the unique differences between the single-use and rechargeable battery industries, key issues that are being addressed to find a unified legislation solution, explore lessons for other countries such as Australia (where consultation is underway on a national battery stewardship scheme), and outstanding challenges faced by US state and local governments, manufacturers, retailers, and other key stakeholders in the year ahead.

The date of the webinar is:

  • if attending from Australia – Nov. 6th at 9 a.m. EST
  • if attending from the US – Nov. 5th at 7 p.m. EST.

Moderated by Scott Cassel, CEO & Founder, Product Stewardship Institute.

Speakers will include:

  • Marc Boolish, Director of Technology, Energizer Battery Manufacturing Inc, and President, Corporation for Battery Recycling
  • Carl Smith, CEO/President, Call2Recycle
  • Jen Holliday, Compliance Program and Product Stewardship Manager, Chittenden County, Vermont
  • Garth Hickle, Product Stewardship Team Leader, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Introduction by Russ Martin, CEO, Global Product Stewardship Council and Independent Chair, Australia’s Battery Implementation Working Group.

Register here.

Registration is free for Australian residents thanks to our sponsors the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI), TES-AMMQueensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and Canon, in partnership with the GlobalPSC. For details on how to register at no charge please contact Russ Martin at russ@globalpsc.net.

Reciprocal Discounts on PSI and GlobalPSC Memberships

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:11 pm, October 2nd, 2014Comments1

 

PSILogoforRunner

GPSC_LOGO_RGBThe Product Stewardship Institute and Global Product Stewardship Council are offering 15% reciprocal membership discounts off the first year of membership. Current PSI partners receive a 15% discount off the appropriate GlobalPSC membership category and current GlobalPSC members are eligible for a 15% discount when joining PSI. The discounts will be applied when memberships are first applied for. Several members have already taken advantage of this opportunity to increase their knowledge of product stewardship and expand their network of contacts, all while saving money.

Those who are members/partners of both GlobalPSC and PSI have access to a diverse stakeholder group both within the U.S. and around the world that is directly active on product stewardship, and will have more opportunities to network and develop business opportunities within the product stewardship movement. Members/partners are also kept informed of the latest developments in the product stewardship movement in the though news updates, listservs, webinars, monthly calls and special events in addition to a full range of social media sources.

Email russ@globalpsc.net or rachel@productstewardship.us to take advantage of this offer. Considering joining both at the same time? We’ll help make sure the discounts apply to both memberships.

Guest Blog – E-waste Recycling in Developing and Emerging Economies: the Importance of Working with the Informal Sector

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:06 pm, September 23rd, 2014Comments4

Brett Giddings crThe Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is Brett Giddings, currently undertaking a PhD at UNSW focussed on e-waste and Manager, Member Services at the Australian Packaging Covenant.

The rate of ownership, and ultimately disposal of, electronic devices continues to increase year on year; the StEP Initiative estimating that 48.9 million tonnes of e-waste was produced worldwide in 2012, a figure that is set to increase to more than 65 million tonnes by 2017.

At the same time, devices such as mobile phones, laptops and televisions are becoming increasingly complex and challenging to recycle at end-of-life. Recycling the mix of valuable materials within this growing heterogeneous waste stream is important, but simply collecting products from consumers does not ensure recovery.

As highlighted by Adam Minter (keynote at the next GlobalPSC Thought Leadership Forum) in his 2013 book Junkyard Planet, inevitably some e-waste is shipped to locations where the manual labour, often better suited to dismantling complex products, is more cost-effective and within closer proximity to the manufacturers that will ultimately use the materials recovered. On face value, it is difficult for the public to support e-waste flows to these markets. While the situation is reported to be improving, the environmental and health impacts associated with poor e-waste recycling practices employed by the informal sector are well-documented, legitimate concerns with a quick Google search conjuring up images of youths burning PVC sheaths from copper wires and factory workers sitting in piles of broken CRT TVs and monitors.

Parallel to regulatory responses to these impacts is a growth in industry-lead supply chain transparency and certification, yet still the flows of waste (at times illegally) continue, and ultimately find their way to the informal sector. There have been many calls to stop the export of e-waste to regions that involve the informal sector, however there are inherent social benefits and value creation opportunities that should be considered and accounted for. These include the dramatic rises in ownership of refurbished electronic devices in these regions and the resultant social benefits that this access affords. At the same time, the developing world is producing its own increasing volumes of e-waste, with China now outstripping even the US in terms of total tonnes of e-waste produced each year. “Cutting and running”, as with many complex supply chain problems, is not the answer.

The viability of e-waste recycling is underpinned by the availability of high-value materials, including copper, gold, silver and palladium and the ease with which these materials can be separated and recovered from the units within which they are embedded. New, low-impact, practical and place-relevant solutions are required; solutions that mitigate the health and environmental impacts associated with practices such as chemical leaching and open copper wire burning, while maximising employment opportunities and resource recovery.

There is no right or wrong approach, but solutions should be systematic, linking effective manual recycling processes with the high-tech, environmentally sound, formal sector. They should be complementary rather than competing, also able to run in parallel and coexist with the formal sector, and empower both individual operators and those working in cooperative arrangements. One example is the East Africa Compliant Recycling operation in Kenya. Supported by Dell, HP, Microsoft and Philips, collectors are able to deliver electronic goods and receive fair payment. Electronic items are then manually sorted, dismantled, packed and shipped locally or globally for recycling.

Other solutions are technology-focussed. The Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT Centre) at UNSW, has demonstrated that processing printed circuit boards using pyrolysis at high temperatures in an inert atmosphere can be utilised to recover high-value material fractions in a manner that mitigates both the health and environmental impacts often associated with small-scale processing. Currently laboratory-based, I am involved in a research project to explore the viability of this technologies’ use by the informal sector and in an environment where waste streams are far from consistent, evolving with each product iteration. Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of the SMaRT Centre, will be discussing this project and others as a panellist at the GlobalPSC’s next Thought Leadership Forum.

 

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Product Stewardship Council.

With a background in product development and environmental management, Brett Giddings has held roles that span the full lifecycle of products; from design through to recycling. Currently undertaking a PhD at UNSW focussed on e-waste, Brett is also the Manager, Member Services at the Australia Packaging Covenant. He has worked in local government in a waste management role, contracted to several environmental consultancies, held a research position at UNSW and was Visy’s Product Sustainability Manager.

US Allows Take-back Options for Unwanted Medicines

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:24 am, September 10th, 2014Comments1

New regulations by the US Drug Enforcement Administration encourage safe medicine disposal and expanded take-back opportunities at pharmacies and hospitals to address prescription drug abuse.

Patients and family members can also use pre-paid mail-back packages to return unwanted medicines.

The changes apply to controlled substances including opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, stimulants such as Adderall and depressants such as Ativan that previously could not legally be returned to pharmacies.

Participation in the program will be voluntary.

US Attorney General Eric Holder’s video below outlines the intent of the new regulations.

Click here to view
 

GlobalPSC Member – Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI)

Posted by GlobalPSC at 11:20 am, March 7th, 2014Comments13

SERI image003

Many electronic items can be repaired and reused in second hand markets in the developed or developing world. Additionally, almost all electronics are recyclable, containing valuable metals and plastics that when separated can be resold as useful commodities. Unfortunately, many electronics are not recycled, instead finding their way into landfills or other disposal channels where rudimentary practices can cause serious human health and environmental harm.

In response to these challenges, a coalition of stakeholders including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, electronics manufacturers, major retailers, NGOs, electronics refurbishers and recyclers, and others, created the Responsible Recycling (R2) standard for safe, environmentally sustainable management of used electronics. Developed through a transparent, consensus-based process, the goal of the R2 standard was to develop a voluntary, market-based mechanism for expanding and encouraging the use of best practices for electronics refurbishing and recycling.

Responsible electronics recycling practices ensure that used electronics are handled in a way that encourages repair and reuse, safely reclaims metals, plastics and other materials for commodity resale, and guards against human health issues and environmental contamination brought on by improper recovery and disposal. R2 certification has been integral to the growth of responsible recycling worldwide and new changes to the standard aim to take these principles even further.

The R2 standard begins 2014 with incredible momentum. Over 500 facilities in 14 countries are now R2 certified with more becoming certified every week. Last July’s release of R2:2013, the first major update to the original R2 standard, added increased record keeping and reporting requirements, mandated certification to generally-accepted environmental health and safety requirements, and tightened requirements regarding how facilities that refurbish and recycle electronics address some of the most pressing environmental and human health risks associated with managing used electronics.

On 5 June 2014, R2 Solutions announced that a new organisation, Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), would succeed R2 Solutions in developing and promoting the R2 Standard.

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