Saturday, February 27, 2010

Left at the Altar? The future of Maine's Product Stewardship leadership

maine-portland.jpgLast week Maine held public hearings on a new policy attempting to introduce comprehensive “framework” for producer responsibility. Maine has led the nation in product stewardship, but efforts to hold producers responsible for the damage created by their products may be derailed by some in the business community who oppose the new law. Maine State Rep. Melissa Walsh Innes reacts to last week's public hearings on LD 1631, An Act to Provide Leadership Regarding the Responsible Recycling of Consumer Products on her blog:
Will Maine leave Product Stewardship at the altar?
MelissaInnesPhoto.JPG"Okay, so Maine has over five product stewardship laws right now (leading the nation, a great thing), and we know that the laws have created jobs (just ask eWaste Recycling or Uniwaste), so why is the Maine business community getting cold feet and running from the altar? Maine has already been 'engaged' to product stewardship ever since we passed the well-known (or should I say infamous) bottle bill many years ago. Let's say it's been a long engagement, and Maine has recently become more and more committed to the idea, with the recent passing of extended producer responsibility laws in the last six years. Isn't it now time to take that next, big step, and profess our union with product stewardship by passing LD 1631, An Act to Provide Leadership Regarding the Responsible Recycling of Consumer Products, and setting up the process to allow our very knowledgeable DEP the administrative process of determining more products ripe for producer responsibility?

"I say yes, and over two dozen other people and organizations from Maine (and Nova Scotia!) said yes at the recent public hearing for the bill on Friday, the 22nd, in front of the Joint Standing Committee on Natural Resources (more support is flowing in via e-mail). Product Stewardship is an economic train that's already out of the station. Florida and Massachusetts recently made declarations that they will be moving toward producer responsibility, and more and more States are realizing that they are being left with a mounting bill for their waste managment costs because producers continue to make products that contain toxic materials and/or they don't want to bother with recycling their consumers' discarded products into new products.

"Let's change the term Solid Waste Management to Solid Resource Management, and create new markets for products' reuse and recycling by committing and marrying the policy of product stewardship for Maine. Who will benefit? Everyone, even producers, even though they won't admit it now. The playing field will be fair, they will be more sustainable in their production to keep their product life-cycle costs down, and their will be less toxic products in our landfills and air. Let's get this done now."
Click here for bill information
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