Exploring the Effectiveness of Product Stewardship…
Welcome back to some more happy Earth news GFZs!
Today, we've got a good one for you that resonates with our new & existing fellow recycling nerds and waste-free enthusiasts. We're shining a light on a report, well, six reports, conducted to learn more about product stewardship programs' effectiveness.
The studies evaluated the effectiveness of product stewardship initiatives in promoting sustainable waste management practices. It highlights the findings of a comprehensive study conducted by leading waste management experts; let's see what they found…
Before we begin… while we do a little happy dance when we see companies taking responsibility for recycling initiatives and product stewardship, let's not forget that preventing waste is the ultimate solution! We dream of a world where companies have abundant options for waste-free packaging alternatives and eliminate the need for the recycling tango.
What is a product stewardship program?
We thought you'd never ask! Product stewardship manages different products and material's impacts on the environment, human health, and safety. It is a concept that encourages manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to take shared responsibility for reducing the environmental impact of products throughout their life cycle. It involves designing products for easier recycling, collecting and recycling them properly, and raising consumer awareness. These schemes can be industry-led voluntary schemes. You know, the ones like Terracycle!
Increased Diversion of Waste
The report reveals that product stewardship programs have significantly contributed to diverting waste from landfills. Woot woot! By implementing effective collection and recycling systems, these initiatives have helped recycle materials that would otherwise pollute the environment, and give them a second life.
Positive Environmental Impact
By reducing the extraction of raw materials and energy consumption, these programs have contributed to
lowering greenhouse gas emissions and conserving natural resources, through recycled packaging and materials that can be reused or remade into the product over and over again without taking more from the Earth.
Contrary to popular belief, product stewardship has proven to be economically advantageous. The report showcases how investing in sustainable waste management practices has created new jobs in recycling industries, stimulated local economies, and reduced waste management costs. Let's not forget that preventing waste is the ultimate solution, and while jobs in a circular economy benefitting the environment is a win, let’s continue to support companies that leave no trace behind.
The success of product stewardship lies in its collaborative nature. The study emphasises the importance of partnerships between governments, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers in driving effective waste management. By working together, stakeholders can create a more sustainable and circular economy. More of this!
Room for Improvement
While product stewardship programs have made significant progress, the report also highlights areas that require further attention. These include increasing consumer awareness and participation, improving the design of products for recyclability, and expanding the scope of stewardship programs to cover more product categories.
The Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence and consortium partners will unpack the content in the six reports during three webinars in July and August 2023, and if you miss them, don't worry. You can find them here!
Oh and just to quickly highlight the masterminds and organisations behind the reports for your reference GFZ’s; the studies were conducted by the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures in partnership with the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence. The Australian Government funded UTS through the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.
From reducing waste in landfills to positively impacting the environment and economy, these initiatives have showcased their potential to create a more sustainable future. Let's continue to reduce waste where possible and embrace our shared responsibility for the products we consume. Together, we can make a significant difference in preserving our planet for future generations and vote with our dollar!