A Decade of Product Stewardship: Message from PSI’s Executive Director

The Product Stewardship Institute turned 10 years old on December 6th!  Some of you might remember our very first national Product Stewardship Forum in 2000 in Boston when Secretary Bob Durand of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs launched PSI into existence.

The past three months have been a boom time for product stewardship.  Who would have known that in 10 short years we would be able to say that there are now over 60 producer responsibility laws in 32 states covering 9 products?  Key legislation passed at the local, state, and federal levels all in one week in October, with Seattle’s phone books law, California’s paint and carpet laws, and President Obama’s signing of revisions to the Controlled Substances Act.  The recent Resource Recycling conference witnessed numerous references to the relevance of product stewardship and its relation to traditional recycling and waste management.  And the Global Product Stewardship Council convened its inaugural conference in Sydney Australia.  We are definitely on a roll!

However, laws do not guarantee results.  As we continue to color in the PSI legislative map with more laws, we also need to shift our attention to program performance, and to move our bulls-eye target away from solely being on end-of-life management to the entire lifecycle of a product.  PSI’s mission is to reduce the health and environmental impacts of products all across a product’s lifecycle, with manufacturers, retailers, and consumers taking greater responsibility. That is what PSI means by product stewardship.  Extended producer responsibility, with its focus on end-of-life management, is just one tool to achieve this goal.  It is time to expand our horizons.

For now, we want to celebrate the success of the movement and acknowledge the thousands of individuals that have brought about this massive change in how we manage waste in America. Over the next few months, we will reach out to you on ways you can engage with us to recognize the progress we have made together, as well as to chart the path forward toward a sustainable future. There is certainly more to come!


Scott Cassel
Executive Director / Founder

Product Stewardship Institute

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