Environmental Protection

U.S. Conference of Mayors Adopts Producer Responsibility Resolution

The U.S. Conference of Mayors joined the National League of Cities and National Association of Counties in adopting a resolution calling for state and federal producer responsibility legislation that shifts the costs of managing problematic product and packaging waste away from taxpayers and local governments to producers, giving them the incentive to make products less toxic and easier to reuse and recycle.

West Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Christopher Cabaldon sponsored the resolution, which is similar to one his city adopted in 2009.

The list of signers includes Kevin Johnson, mayor of Sacramento, Calif.; Mike McGinn, mayor of Seattle, Wash.; David Maher, mayor of Cambridge, Mass.; Patrick Hayes, mayor of North Little Rock, Ark.; and Mark Burroughs, mayor of Denton, Texas

"Local governments are in serious financial trouble and can better use resources currently going to manage waste products like batteries, needles and fluorescent lamps to fund police, fire and basic public services," said Cabaldon. "We need manufacturers to take responsibility for what they make, not leave it to the taxpayers and ratepayers to clean up the mess at very high costs."

The resolution, adopted at the mayors' annual meeting in Oklahoma City on June 14, is based on a model developed by the Product Policy Institute (PPI) in 2006 that has been adopted by jurisdictions in New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas.

The resolution is part of a movement that calls for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), also known as Product Stewardship. EPR is a policy approach common in Europe, Japan, Canada and other industrialized nations but relatively new to the United States. In the United States, 22 states now have laws for discarded electronic products that require producers to finance or manage collection and provide responsible recycling which also creates jobs.

The conference is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more, promoting effective national urban/suburban policy. Its resolution supports state and federal producer responsibility legislation that levels the playing field for corporations that take "cradle-to-cradle" responsibility for their products and packaging, and urges Congress to support the ability of state governments to establish producer responsibility legislation.

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