Massachusetts Product Stewardship Council (MassPSC) is a branch of MassRecycle which focuses specifically on improving products’ environmental impact in the design, production, recycling stages of product life-cycle.
Thank you to all that joined the February 2 Massachusetts Product Stewardship Council meeting. We had over 50 people join the call including municipalities, institutions, and other organizations. The primary goal was to convey a summary of the work MassPSC will be doing in 2021 on mattresses, paint, and packaging and paper products. Attendees engaged using several polls and a robust Q&A session at the tail end of the call. MassPSC will gather information from municipalities (see below) and other stakeholders to build support for EPR bills this legislative session.
The MassPSC will keep the momentum going with another call on March 16. This call will be open to anyone. RSVP here.
Municipalities: Please take this survey about managing mattresses, paint, electronics, and packaging and paper products. The information will greatly help in building awareness among legislators for the need for EPR programs to shift costs onto producers.
MassPSC was established in 2010 and led by Lynne Pledger (Clean Water Action) and Claire Galkowski (South Shore Recycling Cooperative). In 2016, MassPSC was incorporated into MassRecycle’s organizational structure and is currently run by municipal representatives of the MassRecycle Board of Directors.
Chairwoman – Waneta Trabert (MassRecycle Vice President, City of Newton)
Officer – Mike Cicale (MassRecycle Director, Town of Wellfleet)
Officer – Michael Orr (MassRecycle Director, City of Cambridge)
Officer – Rob Gogan (MassRecycle Director)
Officer – Gunther Wellenstein (MassRecycle Director, City of Haverhill)
MassPSC promotes all forms of product stewardship. Currently, MassPSC’s principal goal is to educate and advocate for extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation. EPR is an approach to waste reduction that incentivizes manufacturers to design products that have environmentally friendly disposal procedures at end of life. The Product Stewardship Institutedefines EPR as:
“A mandatory type of product stewardship that includes, at a minimum, the requirement that the manufacturer’s responsibility for its product extends to post-consumer management of that product and its packaging. There are two related features of EPR policy: (1) shifting financial and management responsibility, with government oversight, upstream to the manufacturer and away from the public sector; and (2) providing incentives to manufacturers to incorporate environmental considerations into the design of their products and packaging.”
Manufacturers can engage in EPR in many ways: common forms of EPR include reuse, buyback, and recycling programs. Currently, 116 EPR laws are in effect in the US. In addition to manufacturers, legislation, stewardship organizations, retailers, and government oversight are all components of an effective EPR system. Read more about EPR on the Product Stewardship Institute’s website. MassPSC accomplishes its goal of expanding EPR among Massachusetts manufacturers by sponsoring legislation and educating stakeholders.
MassPSC focuses its efforts on several products of concern for municipalities that manage these materials at every increasing expense. These include paint, mattresses, e-waste, and packaging. Through this work, MassPSC collaborates with many partners:
The goal of this bill is to create a diverse group of stakeholders tasked with gathering data and researching mattress recycling models from other states. The bill does not stipulate any new regulations, policies or funding but is meant to be a catalyst toward developing a mattress take-back program similar to those already in existence in Rhode Island and Connecticut. To introduce the importance of recycling mattresses and the valuable materials in them that can be recycled, during the last session, Senator Donoghue, UTEC (United Teen Equality Center), and MassPSC hosted a live mattress recycling demonstration in the Massachusetts State House (pictured).
Download S2388 – a petition to provide for an investigation and study by a special commission relative to mattress recycling.
MassPSC has lobbied for paint EPR in the past and continues to do so. The Legislature came close to passing a bill that promoted paint EPR last session; however, this bill failed in the House Ways and Means committee. This current bill (H796) sponsored by Representative Haddad (D-5th Bristol) faces opposition from parties who wrongly label EPR as a tax. However, MassPSC is working closely with ACA and a local paint recycler to continue to advocate for passage of a paint care program this is in place in three surrounding states and which has been very successful.
Download H796 – an act relative to paint recycling. Read MassRecycle’s letter of support sent to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture.
MassRecycle has limited funds and no dedicated staff to appropriate to MassPSC; however, the Board of Directors is experiences and has a track record of organizing practical, effective solutions. Our strong municipal perspective is instrumental in demonstrating to legislators the importance of action this session. While there have been many challenges in the past, MassPSC feels Massachusetts is at the precipice of a statewide change towards improved EPR practices.
At the community level, municipalities are feeling the financial impacts of waste management. Financial and environmental stimuli are helping to promote local recycling and EPR programs that are proven long-term solutions. China’s import restrictions on recycling have caused a spark in waste-awareness. Massachusetts is one of the few states in New England without dedicated mattress and paint recycling programs; MassPSC is poised to change that in the coming months. Now more than ever, EPR legislation has a chance to pass in Massachusetts and MassPSC is committed to getting a bill passed this legislative session.
MassPSC will focus its resources on:
Legislation and Advocacy MassPSC will sponsor and support well-written EPR legislation and policies at the state level. Regular updates will be posted on this page to help guide municipal leaders on action steps.