Banner: Exploring Producer Responsibility
last modified: March 22, 2019
Notes from the Wisconsin Roundtable

Through facilitated discussion, participants were asked to explore the question: Given what you know and can anticipate about Wisconsin’s’ current political climate, what are the key elements of a policy where beverage producers are financially responsible for the recovery, for recycling or reuse, of at least 80 percent of the beverage containers they market in the state?

Each of the participants contributed effectively throughout the afternoon, and the results were extremely helpful in guiding GRRN forward in this policy development process. You will find the notes documenting the day’s collective brainstorming below.

Responses to: What are your expectations for the day?

  • learn how to improve recycling
  • learn options for deposit systems
  • learn about how we’re going to get to 80%
  • learn about what can be done individually
  • explore potential effect on local curbside programs
  • want to get comfortable with responsibility concept
  • find ways to make IA system better
  • share perspectives of local municipalities
  • provide a basis of knowledge
  • begin exploration of policy possibilities in Wisconsin
  • enlarge the scope/range of voices and influence on beverage container recovery
  • find out about possibilities of changing laws
  • see how environmental groups can effectively promote extended producer responsibility concepts
  • find out what people are thinking and what they might do in the future in Wisconsin around this issue
  • listen and share perspectives
  • see how we can do well by doing good
  • explore other tools to help improve system
  • move extended producer responsibility forward

Responses to: What do we Know about Wisconsin’s current political climate?

  • Politicians will have to realize the monetary advantage to the state.
  • State government is split in power right now.
  • Republicans can be convinced about the economics but maybe not the environmental reasons.
  • Deposit legislation may be perceived as anti-business or as discouraging business from moving to Wisconsin.
  • It will be an easy sell to the public, but not the legislature.
  • There is no state money.
  • Interest in innovation and new policy initiatives exist at the DNR.
  • The general public is more environmentally aware.
  • There is a residue of bottle bill history in Wisconsin.
  • Any new initiative will have to appeal to or benefit both political parties.
  • Deposit legislation will have a broad base of support.
  • A strapped state budget means generating revenue would be a benefit.
  • It was the comprehensive recycling law that got us here.
  • Our current recovery/recycling system is at risk with state funding.
  • Economics will be key to success.
  • Acknowledge up front that extended producer responsibility means the consumer will ultimately pay.
  • Buy-in from all stake holders is crucial.
  • There is a resistance to change that will cost money.
  • Two generations of recyclers now live in Wisconsin.
  • More activist local governments exist.

Responses to: What are the key elements of a potential policy where producers are financially responsible for recovering – for reuse or recycling- 80% or more of the beverage containers they market in the state?

  • agreed upon shared vision at the outset
  • essential that all stakeholders be involved early on
  • must be fair and equitable to all public sector and private sector
  • must cover all containers and all producers
  • unredeemed deposits must be dedicated to intended purpose
  • clear performance objectives
  • must provide a mechanism to change behavior
  • include all containers types
  • allow for redemption of containers collected curbside
  • substantial education
  • fixed formula for revenues
  • clear definition of what qualifies
  • pay attention to the money split
  • make clear that beverage containers is just part of the stream that these principles should be included for
  • presented in economic terms
  • no micro-managing
  • cooperative process with on going representative oversight
  • effective watch-dog/enforcement
  • effort to minimize negative revenue impacts on existing programs

Responses to: During a time you found very productive, successful, and/or gratifying, in your professional work, what worked?

  • transparent/cohesive process overcomes political stuff
  • patience/persistence
  • gained trust/earning trust
  • trust your own talent/instincts
  • learning while doing
  • positive feedback comes when you can explain so people understand – they will catch on
  • good ground work
  • a process can work in your favor if you do it properly
  • what you wish for you get
  • catchy themes
  • make it fun
  • incentives are good
  • connecting dots
  • getting the message to the public as to effective programs
  • celebrity endorsement
  • challenge can be energizing
  • learning about diverse talents and using them
  • good things can come from ‘losing’
  • big projects in small places are possible
  • knowing and valuing your role and seeing people benefit from your work
  • user experience improves product

Responses to: What are the next steps this policy initiative should follow?

  • The results of this day should be shared with everyone who was invited.
  • This producer responsibility dialogue should be connected to other ongoing projects.
  • People who attended here might bring this up in other venues as another option to improve recycling program efficiency.
  • Brainstorm how we could bring the excitement of this experience to more stakeholders.
  • Inventory/warehouse all materials from this session for the group to access.
  • Summarize the policy key points and via remote dialogue seek consensus as to the key points.
  • Identify the boundaries/obstacles.
  • Outreach to producers and identify their issues.
  • Identify common issues between producers and others.
  • Articulate our various interests without getting hung up on positions
  • Report back to the corporate people.
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