The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) is taking a key role in the Product Management Alliance, an inter-industry partnership designed to promote market-based solutions for extended producer responsibility. A recent press release states that the group's mission is to "support voluntary market-based extended producer responsibility efforts and voluntary incentives for increased recovery and sustainable product and package design."

The PMA also represents the electronics, toys, paper, packaging and transportation materials, mattresses, plastics, personal goods, and pharmaceuticals industries. CRI Government Relations Director Jennifer Mendez currently serves as PMA Treasurer.

According to the press release distributed by PMA Executive Director Daniel Connelly, "The Product Management Alliance will work to address its members' concerns relating to government policies that mandate extended producer responsibility and programs that shift the costs of product collection solely to the manufacturer. The PMA will work with experts in industry and government in order to ensure a consistent policy for recovery, take-back programs and other extended producer responsibility models."

California's AB 2398 Carpet Stewardship Bill, the nation's first-ever extended producer responsibility legislation that specifically addresses carpet, went into effect 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, and Mendez says she expects to see additional bills, as well as broad-based framework legislation that addresses multiple industries and product classes, 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.