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Extended Producer Responsibility
Who’s Responsible for the Old Mattress?

The folktale, The Princes and the Pea, possibly based on a true story, involved a stack of 20 mattresses and a pea placed in the bottom mattress as a test for the Princes. The author joked that the pea was placed in the Royal Museum, but what of all those mattresses? Chief Sponsors Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), and Senator James Manning Jr (D-Eugene) are making another run at mattress disposal that died in committee last session. To further their agenda for Extended Producer Responsibility that makes manufacturers manage their products from inception to garbage dump, SB 570 will receive a public hearing January 28, 2020. The bill establishes guidelines for a nonprofit run product stewardship program and funding for mattress disposal.

EPR operates by requiring consumers to pay a transparent fee at the point of purchase that covers the cost of disposal or recycling of the product. EPR makes some sense with high-hazard, low-value items such as used car batteries. It makes less sense with low-hazard items that puts a mandated price on the item. The concept is an environmental push to control the flow and track products, which makes little sense while businesses struggle to recover from multiple shut-downs.

SB 570 assesses a tax to consumers at point of sale to cover disposal, modeled after California who assesses $10.80. While the program is intended to be self-supporting based on an annual fee paid by stewardship organizations, the program is supervised by the Department of Environmental Quality establishing, approving, administering, collecting and disbursing the mattress stewardship assessment.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

The mattress stewardship program is a new system for simply hauling mattresses to the dump. Some areas report serious problems where mattresses are collecting on streets and roadsides that has prompted developing a mattresses disposal program. Instead of a voluntary cleanup day that a county could sponsor for free dumping, government wants to manage a statewide program complete with hefty penalties. A nonprofit could offer pickup and dump for mattresses for a donation forgoing the need for a state-run program.

Counties with less than 10,000 population will be required to hold an annual collection event if no collection site is available, and other counties must provide a permanent staffed collection site with a permitted solid waste facility. That imposes an expense on counties that were struggling even before the pandemic.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-27 07:25:26Last Update: 2021-01-26 22:16:12



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