- Product stewardship is the term used to describe a system that addresses
the environmental and economic impacts of a product through its life
cycle. This environmentally friendly and cost efficient approach begins
within the product development and design stage. High quality product
performance is key as the product stewardship approach continues through
the manufacturing process. Once manufactured, and ready for shipment,
appropriate, sustainable packaging is used. As product stewardship strategies
are implemented; continued monitoring and analysis ensure the sound
distribution, sale, use and proper end of life management of the product.
Responsibility for end-of-life management shifts from the public sector
alone, to a system where that responsibility is at least partly shared
by the private sector. The goal is to encourage environmentally friendly
design and recycling, and to reduce the amount and toxicity of waste
entering our solid waste stream.
- Policies to promote and implement product stewardship principles should
create incentives for the manufacturer to design and produce "cleaner"
products - ones made using less energy, are energy efficient, use less
materials (including toxic constituents) and products that will eventually
result in less waste (through reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting).
These policies should also create incentives for the development of
a sustainable and environmentally sound system to collect, reuse, and
recycle products at the end of their lives.
- Until a system of product stewardship is established, either by legislation
or voluntary industry agreements, it will continue to be difficult to
slow down the growth of solid waste generation in New Jersey and throughout
the country. Despite this fact, interest in source reduction has grown
to the point where there is now a movement afoot that is dedicated to
waste reduction with zero waste as the ideal long-term goal. While the
establishment of such a lofty goal is noteworthy, it is clearly inconceivable
in the absence of a system of product stewardship.
Product Stewardship Institute
The Product Stewardship Institute is a national non-profit membership-based
organization located in Boston, Massachusetts. PSI works with state and
local government agencies to partner with manufacturers, retailers, environmental
groups, federal agencies, and other key stakeholders to reduce the health
and environmental impacts of consumer products. PSI takes a unique product
stewardship approach to solving waste management problems by encouraging
product design changes and mediating stakeholder dialogues.
Using the Principles
of Product Stewardship as its guide, the Product Stewardship Institute
is designed to provide:
- Policy Development Assistance – promoting model product stewardship
policies, programs, and legislation; researching technical issues; and
helping agencies, organizations, and companies develop viable solutions.
- Coordination, Facilitation, and Mediation – bringing key stakeholders
together to reach voluntary negotiated agreements on specific products.
- Outreach and Education - serving as a clearinghouse for information
and as a network for product stewardship education, training, and development
in the United States.
New Jersey is a Coalition Member of the Product Stewardship Institute.
Coalition Members and Affiliate Members are those state and local government
agencies whose chief environmental or elected official has designated
an agency point contact to work with the Product Stewardship Institute
and government agencies around the country on product stewardship issues.
Coalition Members pay an annual membership fee for substantial input into
PSI activities, whereas Affiliate Members pay no membership fee.
Currently, the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) offers membership
to state and local government agencies only. However, we are considering
additional membership categories for other groups (such as businesses,
federal agencies, the legislature, and non-profit organizations) in the
near future. Visit the Product Stewardship Institute at
to learn how to become
a PSI member.