Product Stewardship programs, also known as extended producer responsibility (EPR), support the collection and recycling of a product at its end-of-life. In Alaska these activities are currently performed on a voluntary basis by an individual, local government, nonprofit, or other entity. A Product Stewardship program shares the responsibility of collection and recycling with the manufacturer under a defined financing mechanism to support the program’s activities. Twenty-seven states have implemented product stewardship programs for various products. While the concept is new to Alaska, manufacturers are familiar with and are operating under them in other states.
Electronics are the proposed products for Alaska’s program. These products contain hazardous materials which, if not managed properly, can cause harm to human health and the environment. They are widely used by individuals, businesses, and even our schools; and are frequently changing leading us to purchase new products.
There are few recycling opportunities for electronics in Alaska. Even where there are collection and recycling programs, our remote and diverse communities can make it cost prohibitive to ship products to end-recyclers who are out-of-state.
The Solid Waste Alaska Taskforce (SWAT) is a multi-agency taskforce with the common purpose of creating sustainable solid waste programs for Alaskans. Product Stewardship is one of the many projects SWAT is working on. We are conducting education and outreach with the end goal of establishing a program in Alaska. It will benefit all Alaskans by creating a sustainable recycling program and helping to protect human health and the environment.
A variety of people and organizations are involved in the discussion to develop this program. They represent nonprofits, native nonprofits, tribes, industry, and local and state governments. Through a series of in-person meetings, teleconferences, and webinars, we have determined this program is feasible and will provide benefits to all Alaskans.
How Can You Become Involved?
SWAT welcomes those who would like to participate in our work to develop a Product Stewardship program. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Product Stewardship Introductory Webinar
See this webinar for an overview of Product Stewardship: Product Stewardship Introductory Webinar