May 13, 2009 > Who will be accountable for waste management?
Who will be accountable for waste management?
By Simon Wong
The California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC), a consortium of local governments, wishes to shift the onus of waste management from cities and tax payers, who fund collection and landfill, to producers.
AB939 (The Integrated Waste Management Act 1989) made local authorities responsible for solid waste management and created a waste hierarchy - first source reduction then recycling and composting. The 2006 Universal Waste ban excluded hazardous products, such as fluorescent lights, batteries and many electronic goods, from landfill. Cities had to create their own costly, disposal programs.
Despite AB939's waste hierarchy, California focused on recycling. Waste continues to grow making it difficult for municipalities to cope, especially with hazardous products.
Union City supports Assembly Bill 283 (Extended Producer Responsibility). The Bill tackles source reduction by making manufacturers responsible for the re-use, recycling and disposal of toxic products. Intended effects are lower public spending and more environmentally-friendly product design. If price reflected a product's health and environmental risks and disposal costs, there would be an incentive to manufacture and buy products that are more durable, easier to recycle and less toxic.
AB283 would authorize the California Integrated Waste Management Board, established by AB939, to identify products for inclusion in a state-wide extended producer responsibility program. Manufacturers of certain products would have to organize waste collection and recycling after 2012, with minimal government intervention. There would also be incentives for them to reduce waste and pollution, improve energy efficiency and use more recycled materials in their products.
Union City Council adopted a resolution on March 11, 2008, backing the CPSC's efforts to support State legislation for extended producer responsibility. Mayor Mark Green has extended written support for the Bill to Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, Chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, which heard AB283 on April 20 and passed it with amendments on a 5-3 vote. The Bill will now proceed to the Appropriations Committee.
For more information, visit www.calpsc.org or contact Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director, CPSC (916) 480-9010 or Heidi@CalPSC.org