California considers product stewardship

California Considers Product Stewardship Bill


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A proposed bill in the California State Assembly would require producers of certain products and packaging to change the materials they use and develop better ways to deal with the products when they’re disposed of.

The California Product Stewardship Act, AB 283, would require the California Integrated Waste Management Board to set up product stewardship regulations by mid-2011.

The board would be able to choose what products would be covered by the law, and producers would need to submit plans that cover certain goals and timelines: developing systems to collect discarded products, maximizing packaging recycling and reducing the impacts of products over their life cycles.

The regulations would encourage product and packaging redesigns that use materials that are less toxic or harmful, can be better managed when they’re no longer wanted, and are more reusable, recyclable or biodegradable.

While there is no U.S.-wide legislation on product stewardship, also called extended producer responsibility, some forms of product stewardship exist in the European Union, Japan, Korea and Canada. Within the U.S., 18 have developed recycling laws focused on disposal of electronic waste, and more states are likely to look at ewaste bills in the coming years.

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