EPR in Connecticut: 4 success stories

In a new report (PDF) released in January 2017, the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) evaluated Connecticut's four extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws and their industry-run programs for paint, mattresses, mercury thermostats, and electronics, and concluded they reduced waste and greenhouse gas emissions, increased recycling, saved taxpayers money, and created recycling jobs. Some highlights:

  • Paint transportation and processing costs borne by municipal programs decreased by approximately $623,000 annually from an average of $691,000 per year to $67,000 per year.
  • The paint EPR program recovered 51% (or over 320,000 gallons) of all leftover paint generated in the state in 2016, and increased the number of paint recycling locations from 8 to 140.
  • In 2014, the electronics EPR program reduced municipal disposal costs by $528,835, and the per pound cost to manufacturers has remained stable since the program's inception at approximately $0.30 per pound.
  • Electronics collection sites increased from 86 in 2009 to 273 in 2014.
  • Connecticut’s mercury recovery rate increased from 17 to 27 pounds annually.
  • Mattress recycling saved the state 4.2 million kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions carbon equivalent in 2016, equal to the emissions from 875 passenger vehicles
  • The mattress recycing rate increased from 8.7% in 2014 (prior to EPR implementation) to 63.5% in 2016 and the number of mattresses disposed decreased from about 115,000 to 77,000.

"Connecticut's four EPR programs address products that are particularly problematic for local governments to manage," said Brian Bartram, chair of the Connecticut Product Stewardship Council. "As the study reveals, the introduction of these industry-financed programs has saved local municipalities millions of dollars since their inception, allowing them to use those funds for critical services like police, fire, and education."