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What is Product Stewardship?

Battery laptop thermostat

Typically municipalities have borne the responsibility to pay for solid waste disposal and recycling. Under product stewardship, that cost is shifted to the manufacturer. Municipalities can save tax dollars while increasing the number of recycling programs and the amount of materials recycled.

Connecticut's Extended Producer Responsibility Program Evaluation: Summary and Recommendations

Definition of Product Stewardship

Product Stewardship is the act of minimizing health, safety, environmental and social impacts, and maximizing economic benefits of a product and its packaging throughout all lifecycle stages. The producer of the product has the greatest ability to minimize adverse impacts, but other stakeholders, such as suppliers, retailers, and consumers, also play a role. Stewardship can be either voluntary or required by law.

There are different strategies for product stewardship to be realized including voluntary and/or mandatory programs.  Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a mandatory type of product stewardship that includes, at a minimum, the requirement that the producer’s responsibility for their product extends to post-consumer management of that product and its packaging. There are two related features of EPR policy: (1) shifting financial and management responsibility, with government oversight, upstream to the producer and away from the public sector; and (2) providing incentives to producers to incorporate environmental considerations into the design of their products and packaging. Source: Product Stewardship Institute  (PSI)

Organizations that endorse the principles of product stewardship:

National League of Cities
Connecticut Product Stewardship Council
Northeast Recycling Council
National Association of Counties
Environmental Council of the States

National Product Stewardship Programs in Connecticut

The Call2Recycle program (formerly the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation) has operated a product stewardship program in CT since 1995. Under this program, residents can bring rechargeable batteries to a number of participating retail outlets for recycling. Call2Recycle program, which consists of manufacturers of batteries and related products, pays for the recycling of the batteries and also recycles cell phones.

Learn more about recycling rechargeable batteries.

Product Stewardship and Connecticut’s Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy

Product stewardship plays an important role in the Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy. To achieve the State's vision of 60 percent diversion of waste from disposal by 2024, one of DEEP's goals is to encourage corporations that design, produce and market products to share responsibility for stewarding those materials in an environmentally sustainable manner. The strategy seeks to increase recycling and alleviate the cost recycling programs to taxpayers by sharing responsibility with the producers of products.

On October 25, 2012, a stakeholder's meeting was held in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) and the CT Product Stewardship Council.  The Briefing Document, "Setting Product Stewardship Priorities for Connecticut" provides background information provided to stakeholders before the meeting and incorporates decisions made during the meeting. The stakeholders represented at the meeting identified the following priorities for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the State of Connecticut. See Appendix A of the Briefing Document for a list of meeting participants.

The October 2012 meeting identified five top products, in this order: 

  1. Mattresses
  2. Carpet
  3. Batteries
  4. Fertilizers and Pesticides
  5. Packaging
Additional products that were identified and received (number of) votes include the following:
  1. Tires (72)
  2. Lamps (71)
  3. Gas cylinders (62)
  4. Smoke detectors (60)
  5. Sharps (54)
  6. Plastic films (47)
  7. Pharmaceuticals (47)
  8. Furniture (33)
  9. Plastic bags (20)
  10. Textiles (24)
  11. Phone books (17)
  12. C & D debris (11)

In December of 2013, DEEP awarded a multi-year contract to the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) to help Connecticut implement product stewardship programs, including extended producer responsibility (EPR) for priority product categories, including carpet, batteries, packaging and printed material and pesticides and fertilizers.  In June 2014, DEEP requested PSI focus efforts on tires in place of pesticides and fertilizers.

The Connecticut Product Stewardship Council

In June 2009, state and local government representatives and other interested stakeholders, convened in Harford to discuss the possibility of forming a Product Stewardship Council in Connecticut. As a result of that meeting, stakeholders decided to form a Council in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Product Stewardship Council is an unincorporated entity, emerging as a grass-roots collaboration of state, regional municipal groups, as well as individuals that work to raise the profile of product stewardship in Connecticut. Find more information about the Connecticut Product Stewardship Council.

Connecticut Specific Product Stewardship Initiatives


In June 2014, DEEP hosted a national and regional dialogue with PSI and battery stewardship stakeholders to discuss battery stewardship.  At the two-day event the battery industry leaders shared a model bill.  The first-ever all-battery bill!  Almost 130 people, representing 23 states and Canada joined the meeting in person and/or by phone.  It was a pivotal moment, witnessing the battery industry coming together to support battery recycling.  DEEP will continue to work with PSI and stakeholders representing the battery industry, recyclers, retailers and others about stewardship legislation.  For more information, please contact Tom Metzner at CT DEEP.  Learn more about Managing Household Batteries and Recycling Rechargeable Batteries in Connecticut.


In May 2014, DEEP hosted a national and regional dialogue with PSI and carpet stewardship stakeholders.  The two-day dialogue for carpet stewardship engaged over 100 people representing 15 states in person and/or by phone.  Discussions explored the challenges and opportunities of recycling, approaching management with voluntary or mandated product stewardship and rural collection issues.  DEEP will continue to work with PSI and stakeholders representing the carpet industry, recyclers, retailers, installers and others about stewardship legislation. For more information, please contact Tom Metzner at CT DEEP.  Learn what to do with your old carpet in Connecticut.


In 2007, Connecticut became one of the first states in the country to pass a law requiring manufacturers of computers, monitors and televisions to finance the transportation and recycling of their products. The law took effect in February of 2011 and now Connecticut municipalities can recycle electronics appropriately and at no cost to the taxpayer. Learn more about E-Waste management in Connecticut.

2015 Annual Status Report on Connecticut's State-wide Consumer Electronics Recycling Program.


In 2013, Connecticut became the first state to pass extended producer responsibility legislation for mattresses.  Public Act 13-42 requires mattress manufacturers to establish a stewardship program to manage unwanted mattresses generated in Connecticut. The law assessed a fee of $9.00 at the point of sale to finance the Mattress Recycling Council's program in CT. This stewardship fee is not administered by CT DEEP.

The Department approved the Mattress Recycling Council's, Connecticut Mattress Stewardship Plan, on December 31, 2014.   

Learn more about the CT Mattress Stewardship Program.

Learn more about mattress management and recycling.

Mercury Thermostats

While mercury thermostats have not been legal to sell in Connecticut since 2004, many still remain in service.  The thermostat manufacturers established a program to recover mercury thermostats removed from service in 1998. The organization they formed, the Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC), primarily serves heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractors by providing collection points at electrical wholesalers that sell thermostats. A law passed in 2012 made participation in this program mandatory.

The program has expanded to include household hazardous waste facilities and municipal transfer stations. The law also establishes a prohibition on disposal for all household thermostats beginning in 2014. 

2015 TRC CT State Annual Report. Learn more about Connecticut’s Mercury Thermostat Law and TRC's Recycling program.

Packaging and Printed Paper

DEEP is in the early process of researching different aspects and models of stewardship and EPR for packaging and printed paper that might work in Connecticut; integrating into our current infrastructure of mandatory recycling and deposit regulation as well as DEEP’s priority for unit-based pricing for municipalities.  In 2014 and 2015, the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) led a number of discussions with DEEP staff to examine options and models.  The result of these discussions is PSI’s final presentation/report Packaging and Printed Paper, Strategies to Increase Recovery in Connecticut, 2015.


Beginning in 2003, Connecticut participated in a nationwide dialogue with paint manufacturers, recyclers, state and local governments, and other stakeholders to address the problem of how to dispose of unwanted paint. The Product Stewardship Institute facilitated the discussion. As a result of that dialogue, Connecticut signed a memorandum of understanding with the paint industry which led to the introduction of legislation in 2010. The legislation became law in 2011. Under the law, paint manufacturers will assume the costs of managing unwanted latex and oil-based paints. In the summer of 2011, the Department established a stakeholder group to work with the industry to develop the program plan. The stakeholder group met between 2011 and 2013. As result of this process, PaintCare, the non-profit organization established to implement this program, submitted a plan to the Department on March 1, 2013. The Department approved the plan on May 1, 2013.  Learn more about Connecticut's Public Act 11-24, An Act Concerning Establishing a Paint Stewardship Program, Paint Recycling, and what to do with leftover paint.

PaintCare Annual Report for Connecticut can be found on PaintCare's website.

Plastic Film/Plastic Bags

The Department joined the WRAP initiative in 2016 in partnership with the American Chemistry Council’s Flexible Film Recycling Group to increase voluntary participation in the recycling of plastic bags, wraps and other film packaging at supermarkets, grocery stores and other retail locations.  In addition to being on the Product Stewardship Priority List (#5 packaging, #11 plastic films and #14 plastic bags) plastic bags and other film packaging have value, which is lost when it enters the residential single stream recycling programs.  This initiative is to help residents better understand where to put their plastic film for recycling, clean up single stream collection and increase the collection and recycling of cleaner material with assistance from retailers.  Plans are underway for a pilot project and to kick off the campaign in fall of 2016.

Learn more about the Recycling of Plastic Bags/Plastic Film in Connecticut.


In June 2014, DEEP began exploring a Tire Stewardship Program after the closing of a tire-derived fuel (TDF) incineration plant in Sterling, CT, which burned not only tires generated in Connecticut, but millions from neighboring states.  DEEP contracted with the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) to help coordinate a nationwide Tire Stewardship dialogue held January 21-22, 2015 in Hartford, CT with recyclers, state and local governments, manufacturers and other stakeholders to address the problems of tire disposal and illegal dumping.

PSI provided a Tire Stewardship Briefing Document dated March 25, 2015 and facilitated the two-day dialogue. A summary of the Tire Stewardship dialogue  was provided by PSI. In addition, DEEP researched the Long Term Management Options for Scrap Tires Generated in Connecticut, which was presented to the legislature in February 2016.  

Learn more about Recycling and Disposal of Scrap Tires in Connecticut.

Content last updated December 2016