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Product Stewardship

  • Product stewardship is the term used to describe a system that addresses the environmental and economic impacts of a product through its life cycle. This environmentally friendly and cost efficient approach begins within the product development and design stage. High quality product performance is key as the product stewardship approach continues through the manufacturing process. Once manufactured, and ready for shipment, appropriate, sustainable packaging is used. As product stewardship strategies are implemented; continued monitoring and analysis ensure the sound distribution, sale, use and proper end of life management of the product. Responsibility for end-of-life management shifts from the public sector alone, to a system where that responsibility is at least partly shared by the private sector. The goal is to encourage environmentally friendly design and recycling, and to reduce the amount and toxicity of waste entering our solid waste stream.

  • Policies to promote and implement product stewardship principles should create incentives for the manufacturer to design and produce "cleaner" products - ones made using less energy, are energy efficient, use less materials (including toxic constituents) and products that will eventually result in less waste (through reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting). These policies should also create incentives for the development of a sustainable and environmentally sound system to collect, reuse, and recycle products at the end of their lives.

  • Until a system of product stewardship is established, either by legislation or voluntary industry agreements, it will continue to be difficult to slow down the growth of solid waste generation in New Jersey and throughout the country. Despite this fact, interest in source reduction has grown to the point where there is now a movement afoot that is dedicated to waste reduction with zero waste as the ideal long-term goal. While the establishment of such a lofty goal is noteworthy, it is clearly inconceivable in the absence of a system of product stewardship.

Product Stewardship Institute

The Product Stewardship Institute is a national non-profit membership-based organization located in Boston, Massachusetts. PSI works with state and local government agencies to partner with manufacturers, retailers, environmental groups, federal agencies, and other key stakeholders to reduce the health and environmental impacts of consumer products. PSI takes a unique product stewardship approach to solving waste management problems by encouraging product design changes and mediating stakeholder dialogues.

Using the Principles of Product Stewardship as its guide, the Product Stewardship Institute is designed to provide:

  • Policy Development Assistance – promoting model product stewardship policies, programs, and legislation; researching technical issues; and helping agencies, organizations, and companies develop viable solutions.

  • Coordination, Facilitation, and Mediation – bringing key stakeholders together to reach voluntary negotiated agreements on specific products.

  • Outreach and Education - serving as a clearinghouse for information and as a network for product stewardship education, training, and development in the United States.

New Jersey is a Coalition Member of the Product Stewardship Institute. Coalition Members and Affiliate Members are those state and local government agencies whose chief environmental or elected official has designated an agency point contact to work with the Product Stewardship Institute and government agencies around the country on product stewardship issues. Coalition Members pay an annual membership fee for substantial input into PSI activities, whereas Affiliate Members pay no membership fee.

Currently, the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) offers membership to state and local government agencies only. However, we are considering additional membership categories for other groups (such as businesses, federal agencies, the legislature, and non-profit organizations) in the near future. Visit the Product Stewardship Institute at to learn how to become
a PSI member.

Useful Links

Electronics Waste Brochure
Universal Waste
EPA's State Specific Universal Waste Page

Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse

"An Assessment of Heavey Metals in Packaging: Screening Results Using a Portable X-Ray Fluoresecence Analyzer" - Report, 2007
Sustainable Packaging Coalition
Product Stewardship

General Product Stewardship Information

EPA E-Cycling

Clean Car Campaign

Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance,
Product Stewardship Web Site

National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative

Product Stewardship Institute


Home Depot launches compact fluorescent bulb recycling program

Fluorescent Bulb Recycling

NJ Division of Science Research and Technology,
Mercury Task Force Report

NJ Fish Advisories

Is Your Life Mercury Free?
Info for residents of New Jersey

Healthcare Without Harm

NEWMOA (Northeast Waste Management Officials Association)

Lamp Recycling Resource

Keep America Beautiful

Grassroots Recycling Network



Contact: Dana Lawson, NJDEP, Bureau of Recycling and Planning - or 609-984-3438.


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Last Updated: February 10, 2015