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Waste is a Local Issue: Product Stewardship in the Northwest July 29, 2002 Shirli Axelrod Seattle Public Utilities.

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Presentation on theme: "Waste is a Local Issue: Product Stewardship in the Northwest July 29, 2002 Shirli Axelrod Seattle Public Utilities."— Presentation transcript:

1 Waste is a Local Issue: Product Stewardship in the Northwest July 29, 2002 Shirli Axelrod Seattle Public Utilities

2 Should elected officials vote on prices before products go to market? Public Utility rates must be approved by vote of elected bodies; no option to drop non-cost effective services, such as to those who cant pay. Garbage, sewer, stormwater, safe drinking water service delivery mandatory and enforced.

3 Sound Business Practice: Reduce Risks and Costs Should taxpayers and utility ratepayers further subsidize manufacturers for the impacts from their wastes? Should product prices reflect the costs of production and disposal? Who is in the best position to choose ways to eliminate or reduce producers costs?

4 Who can prevent waste? Solid waste facilities and stormwater drainage pipes receive discarded materials –that can pollute, –that could have market value if recovered, and –whose recovery reduces environmental damage such as from greenhouse gas emissions. Manufacturers, not Solid Waste Agencies, are the source of (and market for) these materials.

5 Why Product Stewardship? Typical solid waste and household hazardous waste methods arent suitable for multi-material products High-volume/short useful life as consumer goods, but their durable constituents (metal, plastic, glass) should be recovered for manufacturing feedstocks.

6 Mixed Municipal Solid Waste Transfer Site

7 Typical recyclables are homogeneous materials, suitable for bulk handling and mechanical sorting.

8 Unloading at Solid Waste Landfill

9 Household Hazardous Waste Facility

10 How Much Are You Willing to Pay for Someone Elses Waste? Ratepayer Fatigue - public rejecting costs of public services. Existing taxes and rates rolled back, bans on new taxes in Washington, by recent Statewide voter initiatives/referenda. County parks closed or sold, Seattle libraries on furlough in August, bus and ferry routes cut.

11 Product Stewardship at Seattle Public Utilities Product stewardship is one of our primary Comprehensive Solid Waste Management strategies (1998 Comp. Plan, On the Path to Sustainability). Environmental Purchasing Citywide Policy, SPU staffing for multi-departmental teams.

12 Seattle Activities, continued: Sustainaible Builidng Program - Silver LEED for new construction and major remodels. Water conservation, stormwater pollution prevention, and solid waste reduction technical assistance for commercial customers. Seattle is a founding member of the Northwest Product Stewardship Council

13 Northwest Product Stewardship Council Working together to integrate product stewardship into the policy and economic structures of the Pacific Northwest. Set up in 2000; held a national conference on Products and the Environment Steering Committee and funding from several Oregon and Washington government agencies.

14 Work Program for Northwest Product Stewardship Council: Selected product and process topics, as well as general outreach and information. Priority topics: –Packaging waste reduction (grocery, apparel) –Tires –Electronics –Medical industry work group –Mercury work group

15 Product Stewardship Activities at WA State Dept. of Ecology Staff Task Force coordinating major programs. Ecology staff participate in –PSI (Coalition member; Steering Council) –NEPSI (State government representative) – WEPSI (Organizing Committee member) – SWANA (PS sub-committee; SWANA adopted a PS Policy) – ASTSWMO (Chair of PS Committee) – NWPSC (Steering Committee)

16 WA Dept of Ecology, continued: EPP: incorporating product stewardship into state procurement contracts, notably end-of-life management. BEYOND WASTE PROJECT to develop strategic plans for properly handling hazardous and solid wastes. Plans are likely to include steps to reduce waste in the design, manufacturing, distribution, and use and disposal processes of products.

17 How Can You Get Involved? Keep electronics out of the garbage; local businesses can collect products for re-use and recycling. Institute Green Purchasing in your jurisdiction or company. Join regional and national dialogues with manufacturers, retailers, recyclers, etc. Monitor and offer input on legislative and regulatory activities.

18 Shirli Axelrod Seattle Public Utilities 710 Second Avenue Seattle, WA 98104 phone: 206-684-7804 E-Mail:

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