The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on February 14 to pass a resolution that supports statewide legislation and local initiatives requiring manufacturers to take responsibility for collecting and recycling their products and packaging at the end of their useful life.
This is the strongest statement yet from a local government in the United States on the matter of who is responsible to pay for the diversion or disposal of the ever-growing mountain of waste generated by the consumer society. The resolution signals a fundamental shift in thinking among local governments, which have borne responsibility for collecting and disposing refuse since a century ago. As the resolution puts it: “By covering the costs of collection and disposal, local governments are subsidizing the production of waste because manufacturers know that whatever they produce the local government will foot the bill for recycling or disposal.”
The Product Policy Institute has been assisting San Francisco and other California communities in the development of policies and programs that conserve resources and reduce local taxes by transferring responsibility for product discard management back to the makers of products and their customers. This idea is a North American adaptation of a European concept typified by Germany’s so-called Green Dot system that made producers responsible for their packaging via a special ordinance.
The resolution is posted under Usman Valiante’s blog entry of February 22, which offer commentary on this matter. (Look under Contributor’s Blog” at the left side of our homepage.)
Further information is available from the Product Policy Institute at www.productpolicy.org