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Holyoke City Council passes EPR resolution to boost recycling, cut costs

from The Sun, February 5- 11, 2010

HOLYOKE – Last night the Holyoke City Council passed a resolution supporting statewide Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). EPR is a new approach to reduce, reuse and recycle that shifts the financial cost of managing discarded products and packaging from the cities and towns to the brand owners who design and market the products.

“Holyoke taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay to dispose of toxic or hard-to-recycle products,” said Councilor Rebecca Lisi, who introduced the resolution. “The companies that put these products into the marketplace should be responsible for these costs.”

Recently MassDEP announced that EPR will be a key strategy in the coming decade to reduce the volume of products and packaging discarded in the commonwealth. By requiring producers to pay for the cost of recycling or disposal of their products, EPR provides brand owners a financial incentive to redesign their products to be less wasteful.

On Jan. 28, Lynne Pledger, from Clean Water Action, told the Public Safety Committee that EPR programs in other states have generated new businesses and jobs.

“Twenty states already have EPR programs for electronic waste. Maine has EPR programs that cover six product categories,” she said. “Cities in other states are already benefiting from costs saving and job generation; it’s time for Massachusetts to get on board.”

Holyoke had passed a resolution in 2002 calling for producers of electronics to pay for the costs of safely managing discarded computers and TVs. An e-waste bill was filed this year in the State Legislature and is expected to come to a vote in this legislative session.

“This new resolution calls for passage of the e-waste bill and for EPR Framework legislation to cover more product categories,” Pledger explained.

Holyoke is the first municipality in Massachusetts to pass a resolution calling for a statewide EPR program for multiple products. The council vote was eight to five.

“This initiative is in keeping with Holyoke’s plans to be known as a forward-looking, ‘green’ community,” Lisi said.

The Clean Water Action EPR presentation to the Public Safety Committee was attended by a group of Holyoke residents from Project GreenHolyoke.

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