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LOWELL - The Product Stewardship Institute at the University of Massachusetts Lowell recently received the National Award for Product Stewardship from the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association at the 2003 Hazardous Materials Management Conference in Kansas City.
The leadership award recognizes a key program or national organization that promotes product stewardship. "Product stewardship" is the principle of taking responsibility to reduce the negative health and environmental impact of consumer products through the entire life cycle-from design, to manufacture and transportation, through use and recycling or disposal.
The UMass Lowell Product Stewardship Institute, directed by Scott Cassel, helps state and local government agencies to establish cooperative agreements with industry, and conducts research to solve the most pressing problems associated with particular products.
"We work cooperatively with all stakeholders-manufacturers, retailers, consumers and government officials," says Cassel. "We develop agreements that increase the collection, reuse and recycling of used products, and we help construct sustainable financing systems to reach these goals."
The Institute is working on agreements in six product areas: electronics, paint, mercury thermostats, radioactive devices, tires and propane tanks. Pilot projects and discussions are underway with Staples, Inc., Benjamin Moore, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Blue Rhino Corporation and Worthington Cylinders.