PRODUCTS

 

BATTERIES

 

The Problem

Studies show that people store used, dead, or corroded batteries because they inherently know they have value and should not be thrown in the trash. Some states, including California, have banned batteries from trash disposal. It’s time to provide consumers with a convenient way to recycle those batteries and put that valuable resource back into the economic mainstream, creating jobs in the process. Like most used products, batteries should be seen as a commodity and a business opportunity, not waste!

According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board’s 2002 report Household Universal Waste Generation in California, more than 500 million batteries were sold in California in 2001. Only 0.55% of these were recycled through city and county household hazardous waste programs and at a significant cost to ratepayers and taxpayers; costs were estimated to exceed $31 million per year!

Supporting Battery Stewardship

In this video, Assembly Member Das Williams explains the problems associated with battery disposal and discusses his 2014 legislation, AB 2284, which would have established a statewide stewardship program for household batteries. In 2020, CPSC co-sponsored legislation, AB 1509, addressing producer responsibility in safe battery management, which was reintroduced in 2021 as SB 289. Read more about CPSC-sponsored legislation. 

Taking Action

In 2018, Assemblymember Bloom sent three letters regarding Lithium Ion batteries in consumer products. One letter to CalRecycle, one to CalFire, and one to Department to Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), each addressing the health and safety hazards associated with mishandling of lithium ion batteries.

In 2013, 27 environmental organizations asked battery and lamp manufacturers to form a partnership to establish much needed take-back programs for their products:

 

In 2011, CPSC was the primary grant partner on the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments’ (SGVCG) pilot project to demonstrate how battery manufacturers can design a statewide stewardship program that provides convenient battery collection locations. The project found that 59 percent of Californians surveyed were aware of the disposal ban on batteries – but 56 percent still threw them in the trash.

Corporate Stewardship

Power by Go Green

Power by Go Green (formerly PerfPower Corporation) is a technology company offering sustainable products, including batteries, flashlights, and extension cords/surge protectors. Their GoGreen Alkaline Batteries are made of recycled materials and can be recycled free-of-charge using the company’s iRecycled program. They are also free of toxic lead, cadmium, or mercury.

Call2Recycle Battery Stewardship Program

Call2Recycle is North America’s first and largest battery stewardship program that collects and recycles rechargeables free-of-charge in the U.S. and Canada. Since 1996, Call2Recycle has diverted more than 100 million pounds of rechargeable batteries and cell phones from landfills. Click Here to Update your Safety Training.

 

Articles & Press

 

Studies

Mythbusters Jr. show illustrates the danger of putting batteries into our wastestream:

 

 

CARPET

The Problem

According to CalRecycle’s 2018 Waste Characterization Study, nearly 630,000 tons of carpet was landfilled in California. It is bulky and difficult to manage and has the fourth largest greenhouse gas footprint of any product waste in California. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, every year 4 billion pounds of carpet are discarded in the U.S. and only about 1 percent is recycled.

 

Carpet Stewardship – California is the First in the World

In 2010, CPSC worked with carpet manufacturers, recyclers, the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), and Assembly Speaker John Perez to pass the first product stewardship legislation to support the recycling of waste carpet, AB 2398. This legislation was not entirely successful, so warranted a new bill, AB 1158 sponsored by our national affiliate the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC), to fix some issues. AB 1158 was signed by Governor Brown on October 14th, 2017. in 2019, NSAC sponsored a third bill amending the California carpet stewardship program, AB 729 (Chu). This legislation that paves the way for the state to reclaim over $15 million in carpet recycling fees used to support California carpet collection and recycling businesses, protecting its recycling infrastructure from the carpet recycling program administrator, Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), which is headquartered in Georgia. The bill added the requirement that differential assessments take into account the financial burden that a particular carpet material has on the stewardship program, and the amount of post-consumer recycled content contained in a particular carpet. This national precedent of "eco-modulated fees" will show the consumers which products are more recyclable and less toxic with a lower fee compared to the carpet types with a higher burden on the stewardship program achieving its legislated goals.

 

California Carpet Stewardship Advisory Committee (AC)

 

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE)

CARE is a joint industry-government effort to increase the amount of recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet. CARE administers the California Carpet Stewardship Program, which is charged with meeting the requirements for carpet recycling set by AB 2398 and managed by CalRecycle. CARE’s 2017-2021 California Carpet Stewardship Program was rejected by CalRecycle many times for not meeting statutory requirements.  On January 13, 2020, after approving CARE's Plan on the condition they achieve everything they included in the Approved Chapter 0 to the Plan. Pursuant to CalRecycle’s November 19, 2019, Request for Approval,  CARE submitted timelines agreed upon by CalRecycle staff, that it shall meet to fulfill the remaining requirements of Chapter 0 and new statutory requirements established by the enactment of Assembly Bill 729.

However, CARE has not been making significant progress to increase recycling and CalRecycle has submitted an accusation and a possible fine of over $3 million for failure to meet the legislated standard of continuous and meaningful improvement. On December 19, 2017, CalRecycle concluded that CARE’s Annual Report for 2016 failed to demonstrate compliance with the carpet law, even after the Department found CARE non-compliant in 2014, 2015, and had requested CARE to implement changes. In February, 2018, CalRecycle agreed to lower civil penalties against CARE from  $3.2 million to $1 million, but found CARE out of compliance again for the 2016 Annual Report for an additional $1.8 million in penalties. In June 2018, CalRecycle decided to delay enforcement of non-compliance for CARE until the decision is made regarding their final submission of the Carpet Stewardship Plan 2018-2022 in order to allow public consideration of the revised Plan. In March 2020, CalRecycle referred CARE to enforcement.

Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products

The Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program uses a four-step process to reduce toxic chemicals in the products that consumers buy and use. DTSC identifies specific products that contain potentially harmful chemicals and reviews safer alternatives. Carpets and rugs treated with PFASs for stain- or soil-resistance are potential long-term sources of widespread human and ecological exposures to this class of chemicals. In February 2018, DTSC released a Product-Chemical Profile for carpets and rugs with PFASs. In May 2020, DTSC proposed to adopt regulations listing Carpets and Rugs Containing PFAS as a Priority Product.

 

Recycled Carpet Products and Market Development

There are many products on the market that use recycled carpet materials in their production. Here are some examples of companies leading the market in creating products that improve the market for carpet recycling.

 

Aquafil manufactures nylon from post-consumer recycled materials in their Eco-nyl product, used in many eco-fashion oriented products

Aquafil Carpet Recycling Facility: Tour and Interview Hosted by CPSC

 

DSM-Niaga creates fully recyclable carpet using their new glue technology

 

Interface Carpet manufacturers incorporate sustainability into their business and product design for carpet

 

Fiberon Composite decking uses post-consumer wood and plastic in their production process

 

Also:

 

Carpet Procurement Standards- San Francisco

San Francisco Department of the Environment adopted new sustainable carpet purchasing requirements into regulation that are among the strictest in the nation.  It limits City purchases to certain, recycled, commercial, hard-backed carpet tiles because they allow for easy replacement and minimize waste.

 

Highlights of the regulation include a ban on these toxic chemicals in carpet tiles and broadloom (rolled) carpet:

  • Antimicrobial chemicals because they can make bacteria resistant to antibiotics and disrupt our hormones.  It is not necessary for city department carpet to have antimicrobial chemicals.

  • Flame retardant chemicals because they do little, if anything, to slow or prevent fire. They migrate out of products and escape into our air, dust and our bodies. And they’re associated with cancerlower intelligence quotient (IQ), and reproductive harm.

  • Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) because they are associated with cancer, high cholesterol and obesity.   So San Francisco’s regulation requires carpets to have cationic nylon yarn.  It is soil stain resistant and does not require toxic fluorinated chemicals.

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) because it usually has phthalates (some of which disrupt our hormones and probably causes cancer), and sometimes it has lead (which can cause reproductive problems and nerve disorders), and when PVC is made or disposed, it releases cancer-causing dioxins.

 

To learn more, watch this webinar on the San Francisco carpet procurement standards.

 

Carpet Procurement Standards- Woodland Unified School District

In 2017-2018, parents became alarmed when children were sickened after new carpet was installed in four classrooms at Beamer Park elementary. The trustees voted not to remove the carpet at Beamer Elementary on February 8, 2018, but the Woodland Coalition for Green Schools kept researching and organizing around the issue. 

On 12/19/19, the Woodland Joint Unified School Trustees unanimously adopted a new sustainable floor policy that bans PFAS, lead, 4-PC, PBDEs, phthalates, and other hazardous chemicals commonly found in school carpets. 

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FLUORESCENT LAMPS

The Problem

Fluorescent lamps consume less electricity than conventional bulbs; however, mercury is the key element that makes them so efficient. Mercury is a toxin which can harm the nervous system, kidneys, and liver. Today, only two percent of CFLs are recycled in the U.S., and millions of lamps are discarded. However, when diverted from landfill, US EPA explains that “virtually all components of a fluorescent bulb can be recycled.” Most are crushed en route to landfills and incinerators, releasing mercury vapors that are inhaled by workers. Mercury residue in landfills forms methyl mercury gas, which is especially toxic. CalRecycle reports that an estimated 75 million fluorescent lamps and tubes are generated each year, which in total contains more than half a ton of mercury. 

 

Supporting Fluorescent Lamp Stewardship

In a grant project with the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG), CPSC learned that nearly 50% of consumers and retailers were unaware of California’s mercury lamp disposal ban. Most consumers were unaware that the fluorescent lamps were hazardous, unaware of how to dispose of them properly, and they threw them in the trash out of convenience.

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Not sure where to recycle your CFLs? Click here to find a location near you.

 

 

GAS CYLINDERS

 

The Problem

One pound disposable propane gas cylinders (cylinders) power equipment used for camping, cooking, landscaping, heating, and a variety of other applications. There are 30 million cylinders sold in the U.S. each year and an estimate over four million in California alone. Once used, consumers must dispose of these cylinders and often improperly and at significant cost to local governments and parks. When consumers purchase a cylinder, 80 percent of the cost is for the cylinder itself and 20 percent is for the gas.

 

Cylinders are difficult to recycle and once discarded cannot be presumed to be empty. Even a small amount of propane gas under pressure is dangerous and presents a risk to sanitation workers.  Typically, “empty cylinders” are not allowed in mixed recycling bins and are collected separately at parks, household hazardous waste facilities, and transfer stations and are then shipped to a processing facility that handles cylinder evacuation. Very rarely, as in the case of Santa Cruz County, a cylinder that is completely empty can be placed in the curbside mixed recycling cart so it is important to check with your local waste hauler for direction. It is expensive to remove remaining gas and ensure metals are recycled and costs about $1.25 to recycle each cylinder when they cost around $4.50 to buy one.

 

Refilling disposable one pound cylinders is illegal. On November 28, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a safety alert, “Prohibited Refilling of DOT 39 Specification Cylinders” regarding refilling disposable cylinders. The alert strongly recommends that the general public not refill DOT 39 cylinders, and outlines fines. Additional information on California and Federal laws and regulations pertaining to the refill of disposable cylinders can be found here. The DOT also produced a propane safety video and poster to educate the public about the dangers of refilling single-use propane cylinders.

Disposable Cylinder Facts

  • In 2014, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park spent $2,656 and shipped 2,125 cylinders for proper handling and recycling.

  • According to the City of Sunnyvale between 2010 – 2013 more than 16,000 cylinders were processed through the SMaRT Station (where the trash for Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto is processed before being landfilled), at a cost of over $144,000 to the cities for their proper disposal. SMaRT Station Gas Cylinder Fact Sheet.

 

Supporting Cylinder Stewardship

The ReFuel Your Fun and $ave! campaign was developed and is administered by CPSC, in conjunction with local government agencies and other partners, through a grant from CalRecycle. Click here for the ReFuel Your Fun website. Follow the ReFuel Your Fun Facebook page.

There is one manufacturer that redesigned the valves and now offer refillable one pound cylinders: Flame King. In addition, Kamps Propane stores are now selling and exchanging the Little Kamper refillable gas cylinders and Pick Up Propane locations will be exchanging the refillables beginning Spring 2015. These refillable cylinders save customers an average of $320 over their 12-year life span assuming a cylinder is reused 10 times a year either through refilling or an exchange program. Retailers, including Home Depot, REI, and Amazon, now offer reusables online. Check each site for availability.

 

Please ask retailers in your community to sell or provide refill or exchange services. Click here for a sample letter.

Articles & Press

Shown below:  

Tailgater with the Little Kamper, Kamps Propane;

A little camper seen with the Little Kamper, Kamps Propane Website; and

Refillable one pound cylinders powering landscaping equipment.

 
 

MATTRESSES

The Problem

Mattresses are bulky and difficult to transport, and public access to inexpensive recycling opportunities is very limited, so illegal dumping of mattresses is a widespread problem. According to CalRecycle’s Mattress & Box Spring Case Study, an estimated 4.2 million mattresses and box springs are discarded annually in California, but less than 5 percent were being recycled at the time of the report.

Policy and Legislation for Mattresses in California

SB 254 (Hancock) was enacted in 2013 and aims to reduce illegal dumping, increase recycling, and substantially reduce public agency costs for the end-of-use management of used mattresses. The legislation requires industry to create a statewide recycling program to increase the recovery and recycling of mattresses at their end-of-use. The Program is administered by the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) and funded through a $10.50 recycling fee collected from consumers at point-of-sale when a mattress or box spring is purchased. MRC runs the Bye Bye Mattress California program to meet program requirements and provide fee payers access to mattress recycling services. Since 2016, 5 million mattresses were collected as part of the Bye Bye Mattress program in California, which has saved 6 million cubic yards of landfill space.

 

SB 1274 (Hancock) was passed in 2014 to provide additional clarity regarding definitions, report submittals, and record keeping requirements. in 2019, AB 187 (Garcia) passed to add further improvements to the mattress stewardship program. Keeping jobs in California and the recycling industry is exactly why we need AB 187 passed this year. AB 187 protects jobs by ensuring the program is sustainably funded and there is no disruption in subsidy payments to the waste haulers and others if the stewardship organization ceases to operate. AB 187 further protects California jobs by prioritizing in-state processing. Four key areas this bill improves the original legislation:

  1. Expanding the scope of the program to include futons and mattresses delivered by common carrier.

  2. Setting program goals to establish metrics for consumer access.

  3. Requiring the organization, to develop strategies for collecting used mattresses for recycling in areas and communities that face unique challenges associated with proper waste management such as poverty, language barriers, and illegal mattress dumping.

  4. Establishing a “bridge plan” so if the stewardship organization is revoked for any reason, there is a process to bring the $40M+ of fee money back to CA to support our businesses and recycling infrastructure.

California Illegal Dumping Compensation Program for Mattresses and Box Springs

The MRC’s California Illegal Dumping Payment Program (IDPP) fund helps off-set costs associated with efforts to clean-up illegally dumped mattresses and box springs in California by providing qualifying urban and and rural local governments, participating permitted solid waste facilities and authorized solid waste operations payments for illegally dumped mattress and box springs collected from the public right-of-way. Visit the IDPP registration page or contact Mark Patti with MRC for more information.

 

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PACKAGING

The Problem

According to CalRecycle, one third of the 66 million tons of solid waste generated by Californians each year is packaging! For many products, packaging is certainly important, as it helps contain and preserve the product and protect it during the transport process. Even so, excessive packaging needs to be replaced with more lightweight, reusable packaging designs. Aside from being wasteful, packaging often ends up as litter, harming our environment and oceans. In the US, over 41 million tons of paper and paperboard packaging were generated in 2017, while 14 million tons of plastic packaging were generated that same year. 

 

Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products

The Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program uses a four-step process to reduce toxic chemicals in the products that consumers buy and use. DTSC identifies specific products that contain potentially harmful chemicals and reviews safer alternatives. Foodware treated with PFASs are potential long-term sources of widespread human and ecological exposures to this class of chemicals. On January 14, 2020, DTSC hosted a day-long public workshop on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), and their alternatives, in food packaging. The meeting, included presentations and panel discussion showing the evident dangers of PFAS and the availability of safer alternatives already on the market. San Francisco Department of the Environment shared results from a study testing foodware packaging for PFAS and several testing PFAS free, supporting the producers making foodware packaging without harmful chemicals. 

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PAINT

The Problem

Consumers buy much more paint than they need. The U.S. EPA estimates that 10% of paint sold becomes waste. It is the single largest waste stream managed by local government household hazardous waste (HHW) programs. In 2008 it cost California $27 million dollars to manage the nearly 2 million gallons of leftover paint that were disposed.

 

Supporting Paint Stewardship

As a result of five years of hard work led by the California Product Stewardship Council, California became the first state in the nation with a permanent paint stewardship program. CPSC worked closely with the American Coatings Association to lay the foundation for a producer financed, designed and managed post-consumer paint recovery system. In 2010, the Governor of California approved AB 1343. California’s Paint Stewardship Program, PaintCare now has over 800 collection sites throughout the state. In FY2020, PaintCare collected over 3.5 million gallons of postconsumer paint and diverted 95% of that from landfill.

 Click Here to Read CPSC’s Comment Letter on PaintCare’s 5 year Annual Report 12/11/17

 

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PHARMACEUTICALS

The Problem  

According to leading data sources, approximately $360 billion in prescription drugs were prescribed in the U.S. in 2019. According to a leading pharmaceutical expert, an estimated $5 billion worth of prescribed medicines are thrown away each year in the U.S. With a lack of safe and secure disposal options, consumers traditionally have had the option of trashing, flushing, or storing these medicines in the home. Each of these options have harmful side effects.  Numerous studies have documented the widespread consequences of improperly stored and disposed medicines, including the impacts on water quality and public health.

 

To learn more about the problems caused by improper disposal of pharmaceuticals and other health products such as sharps, read CPSC’s “A Prescription for Change” publications below.

The Solution – Extended Producer Responsibility

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws requiring that pharmaceutical manufacturers manage their products’ waste at end-of-life have been implemented throughout the world. To comply with such legislation pharmaceutical manufacturers and others in the product chain will design, manage and fund take-back programs to securely collect unwanted medicines and sometimes their packaging from the public and ensure the collected materials are properly managed. In 2018, CPSC sponsored SB 212 (Jackson) which passed and brought the nation's first EPR program for both medicine and sharps together. 

Read the entire story of SB 212 - bringing producer funded medicine and sharps disposal to California.

 

Voluntary Pharmaceutical Stewardship

Walgreens Leads National Chains on Medication Take Back

In 2016 Walgreens became the first retailer to implement an ongoing national stewardship program by installing safe medication disposal kiosks in more than 600 drugstores in 45 states and Washington, D.C. to make the disposal of medications — including opioids and other controlled substances — easier and more convenient while helping to reduce the misuse of medications and the rise in overdose deaths.  To date they have collected 72 tons of meds! In a Walgreens press release announcing the program, Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of pharmacy and retail operations said “Walgreens pharmacists play an important role in counseling patients on the safe use of their medications, and now we are leading the way in retail pharmacy’s fight against prescription drug abuse.

 

Don’t Rush to Flush, Meds in the Bin We All Win! Medicine Collection Program

CPSC received a grant from the Rose Foundation to establish a medication collection program in Sacramento and Yolo counties in July 2013. The resulting program, named “Don’t Rush to Flush, Meds in the Bin We All Win!” (DRTF) established six permanent medication sites available to the public free of charge in Sacramento and Yolo counties and has since expanded to Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and Madera counties. DRTF is being licensed and sold to communities across the country. Email info@calpsc.org for more information.

 

California Drug Take-Back Program

Funded by the California Department of Health Care Services' MAT Expansion Project and developed and administered in partnership with CPSC, the program's goal is to increase the disposal of unwanted medicines across the state of California. Collection bins have been and continue to be placed throughout the state for the express purpose of disposing unwanted medicines. If you represent a pharmacy, hospital, or police department and are interested in hosting a bin, please click here to start the application process. Learn more here.

Safely Dispose of Your Medications

 

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SHARPS

The Problem

Throwing away used medical sharps in the trash, recycling bin or flushing them down the toilet is illegal (SB 1305, 2006), as it poses serious health risks to children, sanitation workers, water treatment facility operators and the general public. An estimated one million Californians inject medications, 936 million needles are used by self-injectors in California each year.

 

By law, used sharps must be placed in puncture-proof bio-hazard containers and disposed at a designated sharps disposal site. However, many sharps are improperly disposed and enter the waste or recycling stream where they pose a sticking risk to workers.

 

Improperly disposed used sharps in curbside recycling bins pose a danger to everyone involved in the waste stream. A sharps injury - a cut or puncture wound resulting in penetration of the skin by a hypodermic needle, surgical blade, fragment of glass or metal or other sharp item including rigid plastic - is the primary hazard for those working with healthcare wastes. Though much attention is paid to the safety of healthcare workers and their protection from sharps injury, the welfare and safety of those in the waste disposal sector has received very little attention. No comprehensive report exists to define the incidence of sharps injuries to this specific worker group.

This situation poses an opportunity for companies who manufacture sharps and injectable medications to share in the responsibility for these products at their end-of-life to protect public health. A recent study by Environmental Research and Education Foundation and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) found that 4% of MRF workers are getting stuck and 95% of people improperly dispose of sharps.

 

See our Sharps Stewardship Videos on our YouTube page to watch Republic Services’ James Weglarz talk about Republics’ efforts to share in the end-of-life responsibilities and Dave Waye from Queen of the Valley Hospital talk about the successful collaboration between five private and public entities during their sharps take-back event.

 

CPSC helped pass the first combination meds and sharps law in the U.S. in 2018.  Click here for more information on SB 212.

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SOLAR PANELS

The Problem

A solar panel converts the sun’s radiant energy into electricity using cells, called photovoltaic (PV) modules, and semiconductors.  Each Photovoltaic panel has a life expectancy of 20-30 years, as stated by the leading Industry Association, and most solar products have not reached the end of their first life cycle. The International Renewable Energy Agency published information on end-of-life management for PV Panels (2016) and provided empirical data on frequent causes of PV panel failures, including degradation of the anti-reflective coating of the glass, discoloration of the ethylene vinyl acetate, delamination, contact failures in the junction box, glass breakage, loose frames, etc.

 

During their entire life cycle, from the production to their final disposal, considerable quantities of non-renewable resources generate pollution and waste with a high environmental impact. As PV panels are being removed from residential and commercial installations, recycling and proper end-of-life management becomes an increasingly imminent problem. The large amounts of mostly-recyclable waste imposes the need to plan effective processes for removal, dismantling, disposal and/or reuse. International Renewable Energy Agency suggests end-of-life management is based on the extended-producer-responsibility (EPR) principle, holding producers responsible for the environmental impact of their products through to end-of-life and provides incentives for the development of greener products with lower environmental impacts and contributes funds to finance proper collection, treatment, recycling and disposal systems.

Want to know if an old solar panel make or model is considered hazardous?

The California Energy Commission maintains a list of PV modules available for purchase. The list only shows information about the PV modules such as manufacturer, model number, but also includes information about the panel regarding the hazardous content.

Review the Full List of PV Models.

California

In 2015, Senate Bill 489 CPSC Supported passage of this bill by Monning which authorizes DTSC to adopt regulations to designate used/spent solar panels that are currently hazardous wastes as universal waste. On May 9, 2018, the California Energy Commission voted unanimously to adopt new building standards that require solar photovoltaic systems starting in 2020.

 

Other States

In July 2017, Washington became the first state to pass a solar stewardship bill (ESSB 5939), requiring manufacturers selling solar products into the state to have end-of-life recycling programs for their own products. ESSB 5939 finds that a convenient, safe, and environmentally sound system for the recycling of PV modules, minimization of hazardous waste, and recovery of commercially valuable materials must be established. The responsibility for this system must be shared among all stakeholders, with manufacturers financing the take-back and recycling system.

 

Other Countries

Countries in the EU being early adopters of this technology have already seen panels coming in for recycling and have taken steps to adapt their rules and regulations to include Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) principles (Mehta, 2017). The EU introduced its very first EPR legislation for waste electrical and electronic (WEEE) management in 2002 and was revised in 2012 to include PV as a separate category, in anticipation of this looming issue of end-of-life management.

 

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TEXTILES

The Problem

The main source of textiles in municipal solid waste (MSW) is discarded clothing, although other smaller sources include furniture, carpets, tires, footwear, and other nondurable goods such as sheets and towels. There also is data specific to clothing and footwear, and to towels, sheets and pillowcases. (EPA). The 2018 Waste Characterization Study estimates that nearly 1.2 million tons of textiles were discarded in California, not including other fiber products, like carpet. A recent study by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation indicates that our clothing consumption is increasing, while garment utilization is decreasing. In short, we are buying more clothing and disposing it more frequently. End-of-life management becomes a key element in creating a circular economy for textiles and clothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Product

Textiles are not limited to just garments, but also incorporated in many household and industrial products, like furniture and automobiles. Problematic textile products include “flushable” wet wipes and other single-use non-woven textiles that are flushed in the toilet, causing expensive sewer problems. Research has shown the synthetic micro-fibers from textiles products have been found to be the most common types of microplastic debris in the environment. They have been identified across a diversity of samples from streams, rivers, lakes, ocean water, the deep-sea, wildlife, arctic sea ice, seafood and table salt. A study in 2018 by the EU Federal Environment Agency and the Medical University of Vienna detected microplastics in human bodies of 8 international participants for the first time.

 

sources of microfibers as presented at B

Figure (above): Sources of microfibers as presented at the UC Berkeley Microfiber Symposium held on 10/11/19

 

 

The Solution

There are many examples of voluntary producer responsibility to reduce the overall impact on the textiles and apparel products. More examples and details coming soon. Watch the video below to learn about the Econyl recycled nylon fiber made from post-consumer carpet.

 

 

 

Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products

The Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program uses a four-step process to reduce toxic chemicals in the products that consumers buy and use. DTSC identifies specific products that contain potentially harmful chemicals and reviews safer alternatives. DTSC proposes to list treatments containing perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances for use on converted textiles or leathers such as carpets, upholstery, clothing and shoes, as Priority Products under the SCP regulations.

 

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