The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) is taking a key role in the recently-formed Product Management Alliance (PMA), an inter-industry partnership designed to promote market-based solutions for extended producer responsibility.

Formed on Wednesday, September 27, the alliance has a mission to “support voluntary market-based extended producer responsibility efforts and voluntary incentives for increased recovery and sustainable product and package design.”

Further, the PMA will address its members’ concerns relating to government policies mandating extended producer responsibility and programs shifting costs of product collection solely to the manufacturer. The PMA will work with experts in industry and government to ensure a consistent policy for recovery, take-back programs and other extended producer responsibility models.

The PMA’s founding members represent the carpet, electronics, toy, paper, packaging and transportation materials, mattress, plastics, personal goods, and pharmaceutical industries.

According to PMA executive director Daniel Connelly, “Bringing together a coalition of varied industry associations and manufacturers under the Product Management Alliance is a critical first step in the development of a sound environmental policy for the lifecycle of products.”

California AB2398 extended producer responsibility legislation

The flooring industry is currently implementing California AB 2398, the Carpet Stewardship Bill, the nation’s first-ever extended producer responsibility legislation beginning July 1, 2011. AB 2398, which is designed to incentivize carpet recycling with funds collected through a 5-cent per square yard assessment on carpet sold or shipped into California, is also the first product stewardship bill to regulate a non-hazardous product.

Similar bills are either pending or under consideration in several states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island. According to CRI government relations director Jennifer Mendez, additional bills, as well as broad-based framework legislation addressing multiple industries and product classes are being proposed during the 2012 state legislature sessions.

“It's important for the carpet and other industries to join forces and have our voices heard on the vital issue of end-of life management for products before governments pass more mandates. Business models for product recovery need to work for all the parties involved, for the sake of our economy as well as the environment,” Mendez said.