Product stewardship is an environmental management strategy in which all parties involved in the design, production, sale and use of a product take responsibility for minimizing the product’s environmental impact throughout all stages of the product’s life. The greatest responsibility lies with whoever has the most ability to affect the life cycle environmental impacts of the product.
DEQ supports product stewardship principles and the product stewardship approach as a way to:
- reduce overall environmental impacts from the manufacture, use and disposal of products;
- increase reuse and recycling;
- reduce toxics and waste generation;
- shift the cost of managing waste products at the end of their useful life from government to those who produce and use the products.
Product stewardship in Oregon
The Recycling Modernization Act
The Recycling Modernization Act is a significant overhaul of state policy that will modernize Oregon's recycling system. This system-wide update will make recycling easier for the public to use, expand access to recycling services, upgrade the facilities that sort recyclables, and create environmental benefits while reducing social and environmental harms, such as plastic pollution. Producers and manufacturers of packaging, paper products and food serviceware will pay for many of these necessary improvements and help ensure recycling is successful in Oregon.
The Oregon Bottle Bill is an early example of product stewardship-type program that work differently from the product stewardship programs we are developing today.
The Oregon E-Cycles Program, created by the 2007 Oregon Legislature, is an example of a product stewardship program. Oregon E-Cycles provides Oregonians with convenient, free recycling of televisions, computers and monitors. It is funded and operated by electronics manufacturers who sell their products in Oregon.
In 2009 Oregon became the first state in the nation to enact a law requiring architectural paint manufacturers to start a program to reduce waste, increase reuse and recycling, and safely dispose of remaining unusable paint and other coatings. The resulting paint product stewardship program is paid for by Oregonians who buy paint, managed by industry, and overseen by DEQ.