First State Producer Responsibility "Framework" Law Passed in Maine with Unanimous Bi-Partisan and Chamber of Commerce Support
Movement is Sweeping the Nation
CONTACT: Kathleen Goldstein, Product Policy Institute, 202-841-0295
(Augusta, ME – March 25, 2010) With a show of unanimous bi-partisan and Chamber of Commerce support, today the first extended producer responsibility "framework" law (LD 1631, An Act to Provide Leadership Regarding the Responsible Recycling of Consumer Products) was signed into law by Maine Governor John Baldacci. Business, environmental groups and legislators came together to make this happen. This sets a precedent for other states to adopt similar framework laws to address the growing, expensive problem of managing consumer product waste. Product Policy Institute (PPI), which developed model framework producer responsibility legislation that was the starting point for Maine and other states, commends this effort.
The law, sponsored by Rep. Melissa Walsh Innes (D – Yarmouth), applies the principle of producer responsibility for managing products when consumers are done with them, to reduce life-cycle impacts. The law establishes a process for creating product stewardship programs for hard-to-recycle products and packaging, moving the physical and financial responsibility for managing old products from the general taxpayer to producers, consumers, and others who benefit from products sold and used.
"Mainers can be proud of their business leaders and legislators for coming together to pass this unprecedented producer responsibility framework law," said Rep. Innes. "We are the first to enact a comprehensive producer responsibility law which addresses the economic and environmental impacts to Maine of product waste."
The legislation resulted from collaboration between the business community, the environmental community and the Legislature. In a recent Impact article, Dana Connors, President of the Maine Chamber of Commerce, said: "LD 1631 is a true example of the best of the legislative process. [It] establishes a simple and reasonable framework for identifying products appropriate for product stewardship, along with ways to improve existing product stewardship programs already on the books in Maine. … I’m proud of the Chamber’s role in this important issue, and excited about the opportunities going forward to build on the relationships forged during the work on LD 1631."
Extended producer responsibility – also known as product stewardship - is a policy approach that is common in Europe, Canada and other industrialized nations but is relatively new to the United States. In the US, 19 states now have laws for discarded electronic products that require producers to finance or manage collection and responsible recycling.
"Thanks to this law, Maine people will have increased opportunities to responsibly recycle products that don’t currently have good disposal options," said Matt Prindiville, Clean Production Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. "Product stewardship programs put the right incentives in place so that products are designed to be recycled instead of land-filled or incinerated."
"Maine’s historic action adopting a producer responsibility framework indicates that this is the right approach to deal with the recycling waste products and packaging instead of a product-by-product approach," said Bill Sheehan, Executive Director of Product Policy Institute. "It’s now time for stakeholders in other states to work together to build on this victory and follow suit."
The momentum and political will is there. Local and state EPR resolutions are sweeping the nation and could lead to state frameworks:
- Producer responsibility legislation for a range of products and packaging has been introduced in the last four years in 32 state legislatures. Comprehensive framework bills have been introduced in six states.
- In 2009, two national organizations of local elected officials -- the National Association of Counties and National League of Cities -- adopted resolutions calling for producer responsibility, including the framework approach.
- Local governments are adopting resolutions calling for producer responsibility state legislation, including framework legislation. In California, 81 local jurisdictions and regional or statewide local government associations have adopted such resolutions.
Product Policy Institute has been leading the producer responsibility movement by setting the goal of a comprehensive policy approach, and by helping local and state government officials and other stakeholders work effectively to support the new policy approach. PPI helped local governments organize Product Stewardship Councils in California, Texas, New York and Vermont; the Councils serve as hubs that bring together all stakeholders to develop sustainable solutions based on the producer responsibility principle.
Link to Product Policy Institute: http://www.productpolicy.org
Link to Extended Producer Responsibility Framework Background: http://www.productpolicy.org/content/framework-map-us-framework-epr-legislation
Link to March 4 Maine Chamber of Commerce article: http://www.mainechamber.org/mx/hm.asp?id=ImpactArchive
Link to Natural Resources Council of Maine: http://www.nrcm.org
About Product Policy Institute:
Product Policy Institute is a North American non-partisan, non-profit research and educational organization. Founded in 2003, PPI works with community, government and business leaders for public policies that protect public health and safety and address climate change by encouraging waste prevention and clean production. PPI helped local governments establish Product Stewardship Councils in California, New York, Texas and Vermont. For more information, visit www.productpolicy.org. P.O. Box 48433, Athens, GA 30604 * Tel: 706-613-0710 * email@example.com.