Maine's Product Stewardship Programs
Product stewardship is a public policy approach in which all participants involved in the life cycle of a product share responsibility for the impacts to human health and the natural environment that result from the production, use, and end-of-life management of the product. Generally, the greater the ability of a party to influence the life cycle impacts of a product, the greater the degree of that party’s responsibility. Product stewardship means taking responsibility for designing, purchasing and managing products at the end-of-life to create sustainable systems for the production and use of products.
In 2010, Maine enacted a Product Stewardship Framework law which affirms product stewardship programs as an integral part of Maine’s solid waste management strategy. This law sets up a pre-legislative process for considering candidates for new product stewardship programs and changes to Maine’s existing product stewardship programs. This process provides the opportunity for municipalities, manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and non-governmental organizations to provide their input into the establishment and revision of product stewardship programs in Maine.
Implementing Product Stewardship in Maine, 2013 Report to Legislature
Maine law specifies product stewardship responsibilities for end-of-life management for the following products:
- Dry cell mercuric oxide and rechargeable batteries
- Mercury auto switches
- Electronic waste
- Cell phones
- Mercury thermostats
- Mercury-added (fluorescent) lamps
Maine recently enacted a new paint product stewardship law that requires manufacturers to establish a recycling program for unwanted architectural paint (paint used on buildings). The manufacturers will submit a plan for their program in Maine to the DEP by April 1, 2015, and will implement the plan within 90 days of receiving DEP’s approval. The manufacturers will be using the non-profit PaintCare to run the program. PaintCare’s web site explains how their program works in other states, including tips on how to buy the right amount, properly store, use up, and recycle and dispose of any left over paint.
One way to reduce waste from your home or business is to choose products with less packaging and avoid getting products you don't need. For example, if you get phone books that you never use, some phone book publishers allow you to register on-line to "opt-out" of having a phone book automatically delivered to your home. Use Catalog Choice to let companies know that you do not want to receive some or all of their catalogs by mail or to sign up for a service that works to reduce junk mail to your home.
Learn more about Environmentally Preferable Purchasing