Product Stewardship


Hands holding a globe with sunshine and plants in the background.

Product stewardship is the act of making products safer for people and the planet, from design to disposal. This movement ensures those who manufacture, design, consume or sell products are also responsible for reducing impacts to the environment, economy, public health and safety.

State Product Stewardship Laws by Product


A paint can and paintbrush.Paint stewardship programs exist in at least 10 states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington—and the District of Columbia. 

All 10 states and D.C. operate their programs in the same manner. They all require paint producers or their representative organizations to submit a plan for the establishment of a paint stewardship program. Each plan must include a paint stewardship assessment to cover the cost of collecting, transporting and processing post-consumer paint statewide. The assessment is charged to retailers and distributors, who then add that amount to the purchase price of each container of paint sold in the state. The assessment must be enough to recover, but not exceed, the cost of the paint stewardship program. Any surplus funds are put back into the program to reduce costs, including the assessment amount in future years. 

Oregon specifies that the architectural paint stewardship assessment cannot be described as a recycling fee at the point of retail, and a fee cannot be charged to the consumer at the point of collection of post-consumer architectural paint. 

Statute Citations:
  • California: Cal. Pub. Res. §§ 48700 to 48706
  • Colorado: Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 25-17-401 to 25-17-410
  • Connecticut: Conn. Gen. Stat.  §§ 22a-904 to 22a-904a
  • Maine: Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. §2144
  • Minnesota: Minn. Stat. §115A.1415
  • New York: N.Y. Environmental Conservation Law § 27-2003
  • Oregon: Or. Rev. Stat. §459A.825
  • Rhode Island: R.I. Gen. Laws §23-24.12-3. 
  • Vermont: Vt. Stat. Ann. Tit. 10 §6673
  • Washington: Wash. Rev. Code §70.375.030
  • District of Colombia: D.C. Code Ann §§ 8-233.01 to 8-233.06


A stack of mattresses.

At least three states have a mattress stewardship program. The programs aim to provide easy options for recycling, upcycling and discarding the various materials found in mattresses.

California, Connecticut and Rhode Island's program require mattress manufacturers to implement statewide recycling programs. California’s and Connecticut’s programs are administered and managed by a program known as Bye Bye Mattress. Rhode Island's program is managed by a nonprofit organization called The Mattress Recycling Council. Fees to fund such program are taken on by the consumer, ranging from $9 to $16 per mattress purchase.

Statute Citations:
  • California: Cal. Pub. Res. Code §§42987.1 to § 42987.5
  • Connecticut: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-905a 
  • Rhode Island: R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-90-1 to 23-90-11

For more information on mattress recycling and drop off locations visit the Mattress Recycling Council.


Several rolls of old carpet.

At this time, only California has a carpet stewardship program (Cal. Pub. Res. Code §§ 42970 to 42983). The program is administered by CARE and managed by CalRecycle. The carpet stewardship law was signed in 2010 and has since been increasing the diversion and recycling of carpet in the state of California, with a goal of 24% of the state’s carpet being recycled by 2020.  In 2018, the program achieved a recycling rate of 15.4%.  All carpet sold or shipped from the state is assessed at a 35 cent per square yard fee. The funds from assessment are used to support and incentive the program and inform and educate stakeholders about the importance of keeping carpet out of landfills.


Prescription bottles.

Drug takeback programs have been instituted at a federal level which requires drug companies to pay for and manage unused or expired drugs. At least three states have developed their own pharmaceutical stewardship programs.

California’s (California: Calif. Pub. Res. § 42032.2.) program requires covered entities (manufacturers, distributors, re-packagers, or the owner of a licensed product) to design and implement stewardship programs for proper handling and disposal of pharmaceuticals. For covered drugs, a program must secure the collection receptacles throughout California. A separate mail-back materials program is in place for home-generated sharps waste. The statute also encourages pharmacies to impose record keeping requirements on all retailers of these products.

Massachusetts’s (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 93, §2) program requires the product manufacturers or distributors of covered drugs to directly or through a wholesaler or retailer, operate a drug stewardship program approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Required manufacturers must file their program plans online for approval. 

Washington (Wash. Rev. Code §§69.48.010 to 69.48.130) state’s program is called the “Secure Drug Take-Back Act.” It aims to create a statewide medication return program that is free and environmentally responsible. Drug manufacturers take on the cost of the program that is overseen by the Washington Department of Health.


Electronic waste. Legislation typically follows two basic models for e-waste disposal. Under the extended producer responsibility model, used in 25 states, the manufacturer takes responsibility by paying to collect and recycle the products covered under law, with the products covered varying widely from state to state.

Under the second type of program, known as the advanced recycling fee model, consumers pay retailers a $6 to $10 fee at the time of purchase which is deposited into a statewide recycling fund. California adopted this method in 2003—and was the first state to establish an e-waste recycling program.

Statute Citations:
  • California:    Cal. Public Resources Code §§42460 to 42486
  • Colorado:     Colo, Rev. Stat. § 25-17-304
  • Connecticut:    Conn. Gen. Stat. §§22a-629 to 22a-640
  • Hawaii: Hawaii Rev. Stat. §§339d-2 to 339d-6
  • Illinois: Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 415, §§150/1 to 150/999
  • Indiana: Ind. Code §§13-20.5-1-1 to 13-20.5-10-2
  • Maine: Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 38, §1610
  • Maryland: Md. Environment Code Ann. §§9-1727 to 9-1730
  • Michigan: Mich. Comp. Laws §§324.17301 to 324.17333
  • Minnesota: Minn. Stat. §§115a.1310 to 115a.1330
  • Missouri: Mo. Rev. Stat. §§260.1050 to 260.1101
  • New Jersey: N.J. Rev. Stat. §§13:1E-99.94 to 13:1E-99.114
  • New York: N.Y. Environmental Conservation Law §§27-2601 to 27-2621
  • North Carolina: N.C. Gen. Stat. §§130A-309.130 to 130A-309.141
  • Oklahoma: Okla. Stat. tit. 27A, §§2-11-601 to 2-11-611
  • Oregon: Or. Rev. Stat. §§459a.300 to 459a.365
  • Pennsylvania: Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 35, §§6031.101 to 6031.702
  • Rhode Island: R.I. Gen. Laws §§23-24.10-1 to 23-24.10-17
  • South Carolina: S.C. Code Ann. §§48-60-05 to 48-60-150
  • Texas: Tex. Health and Safety Code Ann. §§361.951 to 361.966
  • Utah: Utah Code Ann. §§19-6-1201 to 19-6-1205
  • Vermont: Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, §§7551 to 7564
  • Virginia: Va. Code §§10.1-1425.27 to 10.1-1425.38
  • Washington: Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§70.95n.010 to 70.95n.902
  • West Virginia: W.Va. Code §§22-15A-22 to 22-15A-28
  • Wisconsin: Wis. Stat. §287.17

For more information on e-waste recycling, visit our e-waste recycling webpage