Friday, October 19, 2012

Remembering Pat Franklin

By Bill Sheehan, Executive Director

I mourn the passing of my good friend and colleague Pat Franklin.  She single-handedly kept the issue of unconscionable beverage container waste alive through the 1990s. Bottle bills were enacted in 10 US states in the 1970s and 80s. By 1994, when Newt Gingrich introduced his Contract On America to repeal all manner of environmental legislation and regulation, most environmentalists moved on from trying to pass more bottle bills.  Not Pat. She, virtually alone, kept the flame alive through the organization she founded, Container Recycling Institute. 

I learned so much from Pat.  One of the first papers I read on EPR was written by Pat: Extended Producer Responsibility: A Primer, presented at Michelle Raymond’s 1997 Take it Back! Producer Responsibility Forum.  Pat was an early adopter who understood that producer-managed bottle bills were the original EPR laws in North America.

I worked alongside Pat on numerous projects and campaigns, first as the Executive Director of GrassRoots Recycling Network, then as Executive Director of Product Policy Institute. Her house was always open to me when I came to DC, and also to my family. Most of all, I miss Pat’s warmth, clarity of focus, and indomitable spirit.  She was a true pioneer and hero to all of us working to make products and packaging more sustainable.

To read a tribute to Pat from Container Recycling Institute, please click here. 

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