Tue January 20, 2015

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) submitted its fifth report, "Implementing Product Stewardship in Maine" to the state legislature as required by law. DEP provides an annual update on the performance of existing product stewardship programs as well as product or product categories that when generated as waste may be appropriately managed under a product stewardship program.         

From 1992 to 2013, Maine enacted six laws that require producers to establish collection and recycling programs for dry mercuric oxide and rechargeable batteries, mercury auto switches, electronic waste, mercury thermostats, mercury lamps and architectural paint.  Additionally, Maine also has a product stewardship law for cell phones; that law makes retailers responsible for the collection and recycling of unwanted cell phones rather than the manufacturers.

According to DEP, the following trends are noted:

  • The market for used cell phones remains robust, with so many participants that collection rates cannot be measured, indicating that the government mandated recycling program for unwanted cell phones is unnecessary to drive recycling and could be repealed.
  • Collection rates for covered products have varied since each program began, but have generally increased following program inception.
  • The amount of mercury auto switches and mercury thermostats declined in 2013.
  • Rechargeable battery collection rates increased 31% since 2009.
  • The amount of consumer electronics collected reached the highest levels in 2013 since the program began in 2006.
  • Mercury-added lamp collection reached the highest levels since program inception in 2011.

DEP will review product stewardship program plans for architectural paint in 2015 and will continue to support voluntary efforts to divert post-consumer carpet and other products from landfilling.


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