(L-R: Ullar Huik of ETO, Helmut Schmitz of Duales System Holding GmbH, Joacim Quoden of EXPRA and Seamus Clancy of Repak)
The GlobalPSC and several of our members addressed a range of packaging extended producer responsibility (EPR) and product stewardship issues for packaging and printed paper in Brussels, Belgium, late February as part of the EPR Toolkit Seminar and Packaging Waste & Sustainability Forum.
Joachim Quoden, Managing Director of the Extended Producer Responsibility Alliance (EXPRA) and member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group, chaired the EPR Toolkit Seminar on 24 February. The seminar emphasised harmonising EPR rules and guidelines in Europe, learning from international experience (including lessons on Australia by GlobalPSC CEO Russ Martin and Canada by Chris van Rossem of the Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance) and the roles of transparency and competition.
The roles of packaging and EPR in the Circular Economy and in ensuring transparency and accountability of producers were hot topics of discussion throughout the events, analysis of which will be made available to GlobalPSC members.
The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) is calling for producer responsibility legislation for household batteries. ABRI has written to The Hon Greg Hunt, Australia’s Minister for the Environment, asking the government to investigate co-regulation (equivalent to extended producer responsibility, or EPR) for handheld batteries.
ABRI notes the varying levels of support for voluntary and regulatory approaches, plus the recent efforts of the U.S.-based Corporation for Battery Recycling (including three of the largest single-use battery manufacturers) to work with other stakeholders to develop the Model Consumer Battery Stewardship Act. A media release regarding ABRI’s effort is available here.
Australia’s Battery Implementation Working Group (BIWG) was established in late 2013 to develop a framework for a national battery product stewardship approach. Environment Ministers had stated that their preference was for a voluntary approach. Handheld batteries had also been designated as priority products for product stewardship. Research commissioned by the BIWG shows a recycling rate of only 2.7 per cent. Background research and BIWG recommendations for a voluntary approach are available here.
“ABRI would have preferred to see a voluntary battery stewardship scheme established in Australia, but our focus is now on building an appropriate regulatory framework. We are confident that this can be done in a way that meets everyone’s needs,” Helen Lewis, ABRI’s CEO (and member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group) told the GlobalPSC.
Looking back on 2014 and looking forward to 2015
2014 saw a range of product stewardship and extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs being refined and rationalized, as well as a shift in some producers’ attitudes towards regulation.
Stewards’ efforts in Canada continue to help ensure more nationally consistent EPR schemes (EPRA for electronics and CSSA for packaging) that are intended to improve administrative efficiencies and create opportunities for reducing compliance costs. Another significant Canadian development has been the first proposed competitive stewardship organization for packaging and printed paper.
One issue that saw significant movement in 2014 is an increased willingness from certain producers to seek regulatory underpinnings (including EPR) that provide greater protection against free riders, such as model legislation in the US for batteries. Some producers however, such as US carpet producers, have taken steps to specifically oppose EPR. The GlobalPSC is tracking this issue closely and collaborating with our members and other interested parties to understand such issues and share insights (as in early November’s webinar on US and Australian developments for batteries).
Broader consideration of product stewardship as part of discussions on a circular economy may have taken a hit in 2014 when the European Commission withdrew its circular economy proposals. However, a range of related discussions are ongoing and we are likely to see proposals revisited in a year or so.
Early indications are that we are likely to see expanded electronics recycling programs in South America and Africa and a continues increase in assessment, regulation and reporting of chemicals worldwide.
As we enter 2015 and our fifth year of existence, the GlobalPSC has been reviewing our strategic approaches and working even more closely with our members to ensure mutual benefit. We now have over 60 GlobalPSC members spanning industries, governments at federal, state/provincial and local levels as well as others. These members have headquarters or facilities in 12 countries and operate globally. We have also exceeded 1,200 members in the GlobalPSC’s LinkedIn group.
One of our 2014 initiatives was to seek nominations from our members and establish the GlobalPSC Advisory Group, comprising internationally renowned experts on product stewardship and EPR programs and policies. The Advisory Group provided independent perspectives on GlobalPSC submissions to governments in Nova Scotia and New Zealand, and will regularly be consulted on GlobalPSC issues under consideration. With our recent appointment of two additional experts, the GlobalPSC Advisory Group now includes 11 members from 6 countries with expertise across a broad range of products and materials.
In late 2014, the GlobalPSC Executive Committee and CEO undertook a critical review across all of our activities to date and developed the GlobalPSC Vision, Mission and Goals to help guide our efforts. In consultation with the GlobalPSC Advisory Group and our members, a detailed strategic plan is also under development to help ensure value for GlobalPSC members and sustainable growth for our organization.
New GlobalPSC Members and Member Profiles
- Orora Limited (North America and Australasia)
- Innes & Company LLC (USA)
- National E-Waste Alliance (Australia)
Member profiles and program updates are available here.
The Global Product Stewardship Council is presenting at or participating in the following events:
- World CSR Congress, 17-18 February 2015 in Mumbai, India
- Packaging Waste & Sustainability Forum, 25-26 February 2015 in Brussels, Belgium
- Conference on Canadian Stewardship, 30 September–2 October 2015 in Banff, Canada
At these events, we will be promoting the involvement of GlobalPSC members and our activities.
We are proud to announce the appointment of two esteemed colleagues, Melissa Walsh Innes and Mark Kurschner, to the GlobalPSC Advisory Group.
The GlobalPSC and a number of our members have worked closely with Melissa and Mark over the years, and they bring a wealth of experience to these new roles on our Advisory Group.
As a legislator with the US state of Maine, Melissa was the sponsor of Maine’s first-in-the-nation Product Stewardship Framework Law of 2010, as well as the sponsor of a successful electronic recycling program expansion in 2011 (both enacted with unanimous bipartisan support). Melissa is the former deputy director for Recycling Reinvented, a US national nonprofit working to advance recycling policies to increase national recycling rates for packaging and printed paper. She is currently President of Innes & Company LLC, a US-based consultancy assisting clients around the globe in reaching their goals in the areas of product stewardship and sustainability.
Mark is the President of Product Care Association, a non-profit industry association that manages extended producer responsibility (EPR) and product stewardship programs across Canada and in the US. Product Care manages programs on behalf of its members and also as program manager for other stewardship organizations. Products and programs managed by Product Care include paint, lighting products, flammable liquids, pesticides, smoke alarms, as well as large and small appliances and outdoor power equipment. Product Care also worked with PaintCare to initiate the US Paint Recycling program and on January 1, 2015 launched the Washington State Mercury Containing Lamps program. Product Care also works with the US mattress industry for their product stewardship programs which also begin in 2015. Mark is a qualified lawyer and became the president of Product Care in 2002.
Orora Limited is a leader in innovative packaging solutions, employing 5,700 people across 115 sites in seven countries. Orora supplies a broad range of fibre, metal and glass packaging solutions, as well as packaging-related services including distribution and recycling. The team at Orora prides itself on innovation, working closely with its customers to deliver design and engineering services that ultimately improve the way people consume products in everyday life. Orora is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Conceived in 2009 and incorporated in 2012, the National E-Waste Alliance (NEWA) exists to better enable Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) to create financially viable, sustainable EWaste recycling businesses – and provide ongoing employment opportunities to their disabled staff.
While the emergence of EWaste recycling has provided many new employment opportunities for ADE’s, the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme presents a range of management challenges for many of these small social enterprises such as compliance and reporting, procurement, logistics, cost analysis, productivity and training.
NEWA helps ADE’s navigate accreditation requirements and regulations surrounding the EWaste sector, such as the Product Stewardship Act 2011.
With collective decades of experience in the EWaste and Recycling Sectors, NEWA has proven effective in facilitating the ADE’s practical day-to-day operations in a collaborative manner so that each site is fully optimized for commercial success in a way that recognizes the core values of the enterprise – the gainful employment of people with disability.
Innes & Company President Melissa Walsh Innes is a former legislator with extensive experience in recycling and product stewardship legislation, including packaging, paint, medical sharps, pharmaceuticals, compact fluorescent lamps, electronics, and containers.
Melissa was the sponsor of Maine’s first-in-the-nation Product Stewardship Framework Law of 2010, as well as the sponsor of a successful electronic recycling program expansion in 2011 (both enacted with unanimous bipartisan support).
Melissa is the former deputy director for Recycling Reinvented, a U.S. national nonprofit working to advance recycling policies to increase national recycling rates for packaging and printed paper. Her experience at Recycling Reinvented incorporated best practices from recycling experts around the world, knowledge that Melissa uses to benefit the clients of Innes & Company.
In her time at Recycling Reinvented, Melissa further honed her skills in client engagement, stakeholder relations, media outreach, organization development, and policy crafting.
Melissa’s experience and approach to policy negotiation and stakeholder relations includes working side by side with a variety of stakeholders, from environmental organizations to chambers of commerce. Innes & Company helps clients achieve their policy goals using the same successful approach.
Contact details include:
400 East Elm Street
Yarmouth, Maine 04096 USA
Melissa also serves as a member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group.
The Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is John Lingelbach, Executive Director of SERI.
It has been a big year for the R2 program. Much has been accomplished – especially for a program in only its fourth year and which employs just four people. Over the past year, one of the most significant accomplishments has been the organizational transition from R2 Solutions to SERI.
We made this change so we could engage in a broader set of activities that are in line with our mission of promoting safe and sustainable electronics reuse and recycling throughout the world – particularly in Asia, Latin America, India, and Africa, where access to safe repair and recycling facilities has not kept pace with the rapidly expanding use of electronics.
One of the ways that we can expedite the work that needs to be done is to work collaboratively with others who share SERI’s goals. To that end, we established the R2 Leader program. In just a few short months, over a dozen corporations and organizations have joined. As part of the program each R2 Leader has identified steps they will take to promote safe and sustainable electronics reuse and recycling somewhere in the world. It is encouraging to see the energy and resources going into some of these efforts. For example, DirecTV is providing training in a number of Latin American countries. Other Leaders, such as Xerox and Goodwill, have taken steps to support and expand the collection of used electronics. A number of other projects in early stages of development will improve the electronics reuse and recycling landscape in various regions of the world.
On another front, we have just completed the transition from the original R2:2008 Standard to R2:2013. The new version of the Standard has a deep emphasis on quality and consistency, with new environmental health and safety planning, record keeping and documentation review requirements. Nearly 90% of all R2:2008 certified facilities upgraded to R2:2013.
Perhaps the most important SERI initiative this year is the development and initial implementation of SERI’s R2 Quality Program. Nothing is more critical to SERI’s work than the integrity of the R2 program, and nothing presents a greater set of challenges. Promoting consistency within the auditing community, and a solid understanding among facilities getting certified, is essential. Identifying and removing any bad actors is even more important. SERI is absolutely committed to doing everything in its means to maintain and enhance the overall quality of the R2 program.
2014 was a pivotal and transformative year for SERI and for the R2 Standard. Spring boarding from the momentum of the past year, SERI is well positioned to make considerable progress in advancing the cause of safe and sustainable repair and recycling around the world in the upcoming year as well as years to come.
The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Product Stewardship Council.
John Lingelbach is the Executive Director of SERI – Sustainable Electronics Recycling International, formerly known as R2 Solutions. SERI is the nonprofit organization that administers and educates people about the R2 Standard and Certification Program. Mr. Lingelbach has served as Executive Director, as well as on the organization’s Board of Directors, since its inception, and previously in these capacities for R2 Solutions since its inception in 2010. From 2006 to 2009, he managed the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s development of the R2 Standard. Mr. Lingelbach is an attorney from the United States who has focused throughout his professional career on matters relating to innovations in environmental law and policy. Mr. Lingelbach received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of law.
In an expected move, the European Commission has withdrawn the Circular Economy Package from consideration, with the package likely to be revisited in around one year.
The Commission normally proposes around 130 initiatives a year, but has committed to adopting 23 targeted initiatives in 2015.
In Questions and Answers: the 2015 Work Programme, the Commission states,
“In some cases the Commission is proposing to withdraw proposals in order to replace them subsequently by more ambitious proposals or to tailor them more closely to its ten priorities (for example to present a new proposal with a broader approach on the circular economy to meet our ambitions in a more effective way).”
The GlobalPSC will continue to follow Circular Economy developments closely and share insights.
These laws are spreading both in the U.S. and around the world, and for three basic reasons: They have saved millions of dollars for government agencies, they have created jobs and they have reduced waste by using materials more sustainably.
A recent article posted by Scott Cassel of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) in the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC members provides a status update on EPR systems in the U.S. It identifies which products provide the greatest lessons and which offer new or emerging opportunities. It also lays out PSI’s ‘elements of a good EPR law’ and discusses key issues being debated in the field.