Calif. Considering Product Stewardship Bill

Calif. Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) has introduced a bill that aims to reduce waste, litter, and greenhouse gases and create thousands of green jobs, according to a Feb. 27 press release.

The California Product Stewardship Act, AB 283, would incentivize producers to design products and packaging that are less toxic, more durable, reusable, recyclable and/or biodegradable.

"AB 283 moves California toward a more sustainable environment and economy," said Chesbro, chair of the Assembly's Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee. "Product stewardship will reduce government spending and greenhouse gases, while creating jobs that are desperately needed in our state. This bill will help move California out of its budget crisis and into a ‘cradle to cradle' state that takes care of its own."

AB 283 is supported by the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC), an organization of local governments and other partners, formed to support development and implementation of product stewardship, otherwise known as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). EPR is a policy approach that shifts waste management costs from local governments to the producers who make design and marketing decisions. CPSC works collaboratively with other local government stewardship councils such as the Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC).

"CPSC and NWPSC have developed Framework Principles that address many products at once, rather than the product-by-product legislation that is slow and costly," said Kevin Hendrick, director of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority. "Framework legislation will streamline the process to include other products over time."

AB 283 uses EPR Framework Principles that address climate change and the growing waste problem. Even with new recycling programs, California is still generating more waste than ever – 40-million tons annually. In a free market, EPR reduces waste while creating opportunities to grow businesses and jobs in recycling and manufacturing industries.

"EPR policies are working in Canada, Europe, Japan, and other countries," said Heidi Sanborn, executive director of CPSC. "The primary responsibility should rest with producers because only they make design and packaging decisions. It is far less expensive to design a product and packaging to reduce waste than it is to create expensive end-of-life disposal and recycling systems."