10.02 Approved Minutes


CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

 

SPECIAL MEETING--RETREAT

APPROVED MINUTES

Tuesday, October 2, 2007, 10:00 A.M.

PORT OF SAN FRANCISCO, PIER ONE

CONFERENCE ROOM BAYSIDE 1 – 4

SAN FRANCISCO, CA  94102


 

COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Paul Pelosi Jr. (President); Johanna Wald (Vice President), Ruth Gravanis, Angelo King, Jane MarieFrancis Martin, Alan Mok, and Darian Rodriguez Heyman

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

Public comment will be taken before the Commission takes action on any item.

 

1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment Meeting was called to order at 10:15 a.m.  Present:  Vice-President Wald, Commissioners Gravanis, Martin, Mok and Rodriguez Heyman. Absent: President Pelosi Jr. and Commissioner King. 

 

2.      PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  Ms. Wuerfel complimented the Commission on the location selected for the meeting.

 

3.      INTRODUCTIONS.  Department staff members introduced themselves and reported on their assigned program area and work projects. Commissioners and public in attendance introduced themselves. 

 

4.      DIRECTOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS (Informational Report and Discussion).  Director Blumenfeld discussed the meeting topic and format and recommended that comments be provided interactively throughout the meeting.    

 

5.      EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY (EPR):  Definition:  Whoever designs, produces, sells or uses a product takes responsibility for minimizing its environmental impact through all stages of the product's life cycle.  The producer, having the greatest ability to minimize impacts has the most responsibility. (Information and Discussion) (Explanatory Document:  California Product Stewardship Council on “A Better Way Product Stewardship” and Presentation)

 

Opening Remarks on Product Stewardship and Extended Producer Responsibility—Jared Blumenfeld, Director.

 

Director Blumenfeld reported that at last year’s retreat, the subject of climate change was the main focus, and continues to be one of the Department’s main-focus.  This year’s retreat topic, Extended Producer Responsibility is an issue that is a critical element of everything that the Department does throughout all programs.  It was stated that we live in a society that is consumer driven--70% of our gross domestic product is based on buying things--European countries are around 40%.  Our entire economy is driven by consumption which has led to a lot of waste in energy, water, natural resources and to a disposable society; e.g., whether it is plastic water bottles, plastic bags, or styrofoam take-out containers. Consumers sometimes believe that these are items that could be disposed of freely anywhere because they were free.  The fact that it took a lot of resources to make that product and that some of those resources lead to toxic issues and disposal difficulties is not the concern of manufacturers at the moment.  Part of the advantage of living in a globalized society is that we have companies in the United States that have to meet European Union mandates around packaging and take-back products.

 

Director Blumenfeld asked for the Commission’s support on how the Department can help move Extended Producer Responsibility forward and how to prioritize. There are so many products, what do we want to prioritize, e.g., paints, light bulbs, appliances, packaging, etc.  For instance, we passed laws banning electronic waste from landfill.  In San Francisco, they can’t go in any of the bins, but there is no solution for what to do with them. Laws have been passed, but now we have to deal with implementation of laws through EPR. 

 

Director Blumenfeld stated that today’s presentations are meant to spark ideas and participation. The group was asked to discuss what action to take, what areas in extended producer responsibility we want to focus on in the year ahead, and how it intersects with the Urban Environmental Accords and existing laws.  It was explained that the Charter views the Commission as the entity to help set policy and determine how the Department as an organization moves forward.  Last year’s retreat topic on climate change was how to engage in outreach, so a lot of time was spent working with all City agencies to design a climate change outreach campaign that would bring in BART, MUNI, and MTC.  The retreat sparked an ability to think broadly about an issue. Climate change is being worked on and there is a focus on where we want to go at this time.  Today, we want to reach an understanding on how we can take a leadership role in the city on Extended Producer Responsibility.  Cities can play a pivotal role.  This issue brings in all of the different Department disciplines and direction is needed.

 

Discussion on Definition of Stewardship, Debbie Raphael, Toxics Reduction Program Manager

 

Ms. Debbie Raphael reported that EPR is a broad issue that so much of the Department’s work fits under.  A discussion was held on the importance of presentation in relaying a message in order to achieve positive results.  It was stated that EPR is an issue of waste and how we deal with waste.  We are striving for industry to changes it behavior, to redesign a product so we can recycle ore reuse the product at the end of its life, and that the earth not be poisoned by it.  In order to reach that point, a powerful framework is needed, which is product stewardship. Ms. Raphael discussed her plan for an interactive conference in San Diego to discuss stewardship.  A discussion was held on the definition of stewardship, how to understand the term, what it means and how it guides our communication, upcoming policies, and expected behavior change.  Merriam Webster defines stewardship as the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. 

 

Commissioners, department staff and public participants shared their concept of the term stewardship, what industry may think it is, and what it means in people’s everyday lives and work. A discussion was held on the term as it relates to fundraising, the mission of the Pesticide Stewardship Council, responsible management, entrustment, industry definitions, and need for behavior change. A discussion was held on consumers’ belief that corporations are taking care of us and providing safe products.  Ms. Raphael stated that consumers should not wait for governments to set the bar and laws to be stewards--producers and businesses should understand what stewardship is and that the world is under their care.

 

Ms. Raphael stated that this concept has been embraced by the European Union in the way they write and structure their laws and what they expect industry to do. There is a built-in expectation that industry has something entrusted in their care. European industry is told to do all of the testing and safety assessments, and there is a huge expectation on industry’s role and government’s role to make sure it is being done.  There is a philosophical difference in expectations between countries, which could be considered responsible management.  Director Blumenfeld stated that our job is to define stewardship into terms that are something tangible in the same context it has been done in Europe.  It was stated that industry’s goal is usually to maximize profit and they should be compelled to act responsibly. Director Blumenfeld stated that the fundamental message that should be delivered is that if you are going to produce or sell or buy something you are going to have some responsibility for the state of that product throughout its life cycle.  Mr. Haley defined the concept as the careful and responsible management for something that you produce, sell or use.

 

Stewardship as Applied to Solid Waste—David Assmann, Deputy Director.  Topics discussed included:

 

·        California Product Stewardship Council and Universal Waste Ban--Changing the Paradigm from the responsibility of stewardship of solid waste from the rate payers and government to producers.

·        California Product Stewardship Background and Mission to change the paradigm.

·        The High Cost of Compliance: example of Bill Worrell, Waste Management Manager, San Luis Obispo County.  The cost to comply with the Universal Waste Ban was considerably higher than their county’s total household hazardous waste budget.

·        A Simpler Time.  History of solid waste responsibility--Solid waste responsibility became a municipal responsibility 100 years ago and came about as a result of a solid waste sanitation crisis that caused public health issues.

·        Per Capita Waste Production and Changing Waste Stream over time (categories of waste--mineral, food/yard, and products). The skyrocketing of product waste over time.

·        Disposable and toxic by design: Reasons for increase in waste generation is because products are now designed to be disposable and toxic.

·        U-Waste Designed for Disposal.  California Universal Waste ban prohibits hazardous products from household trash disposal.  Local governments are responsible for keeping these products out of landfills but (1) don’t have funding to enforce state mandated bans; (2) it is unenforceable, (3) responsibility on ratepayers and taxpayers.  U-waste is toxic and disposable (examples of hazardous and disposable products that the government is in charge of keeping out of the landfill include batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, mercury switches, electronic equipment). 

·        Cell Phone Waste—large amount of cell phone waste.

·        Multi Media: Problems that are caused: Solid Waste, Hazardous Waste, Wastewater, Stormwater, Public Health.

·        Growth in CA Total Waste from 1997 – 2006.  Diversion has increased but the same amount of waste is being sent to landfill as in 1990.

·        Now:  Waste is a Local Responsibility of Government.  Local government is responsible for collecting and managing the disposal of private goods.

·        A Better Way – Producer Responsibility. Producer Responsibility means whoever designs, produces, sells, or uses a product takes responsibility for minimizing the product's environmental impact throughout all stages of the products' life cycle.

·        Return Unused Medications.  In British Columbia, the pharmaceutical industry pays the full cost of a program that allows customers to take unused drugs back to more than 800 pharmacies.

·        Recycle Your Rechargeable Batteries and Cell Phones.  A voluntary industry-financed program in the United States and Canada takes back rechargeable batteries and cell phones, but lacks accountability and transparency.

·        Manufacturer and Retailer Support.  The Producer Responsibility idea is beginning to enjoy widespread support. Some manufacturers are already implementing policies and programs that have Extended Producer Responsibility components.  Retailers are also beginning to implement programs.  These programs need standards, transparency and accountability to achieve desired results, and they need legislative mandates to be accountable and effective.

·        Cradle to Cradle Producer Responsibility. Responsibility should start from the time of manufacture.

·        Take it Back Network in Washington State--is a good example of a program -- created by local governments in partnership with large and small retailers, charities and green groups -- demonstrates that retailers can provide take-back services that are much more convenient than the few locations local governments can provide. It was instrumental in the passage of the first full producer responsibility law for electronic waste in the U.S. in 2006

·        Local Government Stewardship Councils. Both in Canada and here in the U.S., local governments are getting organized in product stewardship councils, like California, and are pushing for a proactive producer responsibility approach

·        CIWMB and PR Strategic Directive 5.  California Integrated Waste Management Board became a state and national leader in EPR by adopting Strategic Directive 5 in February 2007, which makes EPR a core value of the Board.

·        CPSC Participants

·        EPR Resolutions, Ordinances, Plans and Policies. There are cities and counties that are moving forward with EPR resolutions, ordinances, plans and policies.  There is an EPR Ordinance in San Francisco and now other cities and counties are adopting them. Intent is to (1) lobby for statewide legislation, (2) encourage City and Counties and agencies to join CPSC, and (3) pass resolutions, ordinances, plans and policies on local levels.

 

International Models for End-of-Life Management, Debbie Raphael

 

Ms. Raphael discussed international models of producer responsibility in Europe and British Columbia, Canada.  It was explained that the CPSC is making an effort to be a resource to the state to gather information on international systems and help inform the way California is going to move forward.  A discussion was held on what does and doesn’t work in Europe and Canada. It was stated that what doesn’t work is when government figures out everything for everybody and as a result it becomes expensive and inefficient.  What works are directives to member states saying that something has to be done and setting the bar, but letting them figure out implementation methods and making producers accountable. 

 

A discussion was held on a collection program for small appliances in Austria. Austria created a producer responsibility organization funded by industry called the European Recycling Platform.  They found out that when a producer competes and puts money into a system but the collection infrastructure is done on a competitive basis, the cost per unit drastically declines and efficiency (number of collected appliances) skyrockets.  (Explanatory Document: “Competition Drives Cost Down”). The take home message is that when government sets up a framework and bar (this is how much of the product you need to collect, this is what you do with it once you collect it) and lets the business figure out its implementation, you have success. 

 

Other success examples discussed included Canada’s producer responsibility program called Product Care on paint, where it is a shared responsibility system between consumers, producers, and government. The funding comes from the producer, not from the taxpayer base. However, this program leads to product redesign for efficiency, assembly, and recycling, but not to toxicity changes.  The European Union is trying to set a separate bar for toxicity, through the Restrictions on Hazardous Materials (RoHS) Directive.  Ms. Raphael stated that California’s EPR should aim toward two parallel processes as well. It was explained that British Columbia has a framework legislation that sets up the intent, the deliverables, what the goal is, and product categories.  In Europe, they don’t have legislation—it is set up by directives that are sector specific.    Ms. Raphael also discussed the success of Sweden’s Chemical Product Act, where the responsibility for toxicity lies with the people that market the product.  It was also stated that Sweden had a 60 to 80 percent recovery rate for fluorescent bulbs. 

    

State of California-Framework and Prioritization.  Robert Haley, Recycling Program Manager.

 

Mr. Haley reported that San Francisco adopted the first EPR resolution in February 2006 urging the state to adopt EPR legislation.  Recently, the California Integrated Waste Management Board adopted Resolution 2007-189 for consideration of general extended producer responsibility policy options.  The Resolution (1) acknowledges the patchwork of product-specific or substance-specific legislation in California and contains language that addresses solutions; (2) states that local governments do not have the liability or resources to address the costs associated with proper end-of-life management of problematic products and the rising volume of discarded products and (3) producers should assume responsibility for safe stewardship.  The Resolution also states that the California Integrated Waste Management Board lacks legislative authority to develop and implement mandatory product stewardship programs.

 

Mr. Haley explained that the Board adopted Strategic Directive 5 that states that it is a core value of the CIWMB that producers assume the responsibility for safe stewardship of their materials in order to promote environmental sustainability.  Mr. Haley indicated that Resolution 2007-189 had been revised, and that the previous version contained stronger language about pursuing the legislative process, but the revised version is still headed in the right direction. The Board wants to hold a stakeholder and consultation workshop on November 14 that will be attended by Department staff.  Mr. Haley discussed the overall framework for the EPR system in California (Attachment 1) that is intended to guide proposals to seek statutory changes to provide the Board with the authority to develop and carry out state government roles and responsibilities.  It was indicated that the framework does not address penalties or alternatives.  Board staff had conducted a workshop and recommended products/categories as well as evaluated various policy options for Board recommendation.  Explanatory Document: CIWMB Resolution EPR)

 

Mr. Haley discussed Attachment 3 of the Resolution, Analysis of Product Selection, which is a methodology that involves qualitative and quantitative types of analysis to determine a list of products, evaluation criteria, and consists of a screening process to identify suitable products. The product list consists of five product types, major appliances, paint, mercury-containing lamps, batteries and electronics.  Mr. Haley stated that he agrees with the framework and that what is needed is to get the Board’s support, to include a few more product categories, and to influence industry leaders from each product category to support the Resolution in order for it to pass it in California. 

 

 

 

Emerging Issues and Product Categories—Potential Actions

·        Zero waste:  appliances and packaging.  Director Blumenfeld reported that San Francisco’s diversion numbers for 2005 is 69%, and we can reach 85%; but to get to zero waste by 2020 we’ll need to reformulate about 15% of the product through extended producer responsibility and reformulation of products (composite products, plastics, or assembled products).  A discussion was held on product categories that should be targeted (furniture, mattresses, PVC, Styrofoam, gum, film, plastic, diapers, etc.).  Commissioners and retreat participants provided their suggestions on potential actions.  Suggestions included setting priorities for specific product categories, consumer responsibility campaigns, sharing responsibility between government, consumers, and producers. Mr. Haley stated that the main focus should be on toxic products in addition to mandatory composting and recycling of non-toxic products. 

 

A discussion was held on Canada’s funding mechanism for their blue bins recycling program where producers pay for half of the program. There is a third party stewardship organization that collects money from all of the different canned, bottle, packaging, manufacturing producers based on what percent of the program they feed into and what material it is. There may be more costs associated with some products based on the cost of recycling the product (more expensive products to recycle may include appliances, furniture, mattresses, big bulky items).  Additional suggestions were to consume less, redesign products, create bans on certain products, share costs, reduce creation and purchase of things that are not recyclable, and charge a prorated share of recycling costs to producers (Canadian model). Things that are not compostable or recyclable should not be sold or should go back to the manufacturers to deal with.

 

·        Computers.  Computers monitors are full of lead, mercury, other heavy metals, contain a mixture of things that can and can’t be recycled, and are designed to be obsolete. A discussion was held on ways to provide incentives for manufacturers to redesign computers to be “green.” Director Blumenfeld suggested that computers receive labeling for green design that addresses recycling and energy efficiency similar to “Energy Star” labeling for appliances.  Ms. Raphael reported on State Bill AB48 http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_48&sess=CUR&house=B&author=saldana on “Hazardous waste: electronic waste” that is similar to the RoHS Directive in Europe that addresses redesign requirements.  Additional discussions were around EPEAT EPA standards, leasing computer services instead of purchasing computers, availability and purchasing of green computers, and adding a purchasing standard into the City’s Precautionary Purchasing. 

 

·        Pharmaceuticals.  Ms. Raphael reported that there is no proper disposal of pharmaceuticals at this time and discussed the need for producers to provide a “take it back” program. It was stated that in Canada and Europe you are able to take pharmaceuticals back to where you bought the product.  AB48 would give money to cities to help defray costs of take-back programs. The Drug Enforcement Agency only allows for controlled substances to be taken back by the Police Department and certified reverse distributors.  A discussion was held on the safety of our recycled water program due to the improper disposal of pharmaceuticals. 

 

·        Fluorescent lights.  Fluorescent lights contain mercury and the cost of recycling the product is more than the cost of the product itself.  State intervention is required in order to create an efficient system and keep the cost down.

 

·        Batteries.  A program has to be done on a big scale to keep the cost down for recovering materials. 

 

Wrap up and Action Steps

 

Director Blumenfeld discussed creating successful consumer campaigns through outreach.  Suggestions included rightsizing garbage, consumer responsibility (do not buy a product it if you don’t need it, don’t buy it new if you can buy it used, repair it, give it to someone else, recycle it, unwrap it in the store, bring packaging back to the store), less consumption).  It was stated that strong messaging is needed and can be done through pro bono firms and ads.  Director Blumenfeld recommended that the Commission’s Policy Committee discuss EPR issues in depth at future meetings.  

 

6.      PRESIDENT’S ANNOUNCEMENTS (Informational Report and Discussion).  There were no announcements made at this time.

 

7.      NEW BUSINESS/FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS (Discussion).  This item was heard throughout the meeting.

 

8.      PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  Ms. Wuerfel suggested that agendas be published earlier than they currently are in order to involve more of the public.

 

9.      ADJOURNMENT.  The Commission Retreat adjourned at 2:15 p.m.

 

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Commission’s website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/environment-commission as attachments to the meeting agenda or minutes, ;(3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709

FAX: (415) 554-6393

 

Approved: November 14, 2007

 

 

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