BOSTON - The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) received the 2012 Environmental Protection Agency Merit Award for its significant contributions toward preserving and protecting natural resources. The Merit Awards, which are the highest awards bestowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the New England Region, were presented for "extraordinary accomplishments to protect New England's environment" in the Environmental, Community, Academia & Nonprofit category.

In its recognition of PSI's achievements, the EPA noted that, "The institute laid the groundwork for passage of legislation in the region...and promotes the use of voluntary recycling programs....It [also] helped develop Maine's cutting-edge law in 2006 regarding mercury thermostats. This law resulted in one of the highest per-capita rates of collection of thermostats in the country." Laws modeled on Maine's law were passed in Vermont and Rhode Island, along with six other states nationally.

The EPA also acknowledged PSI's role in facilitating the national paint agreement between paint manufacturers, retailers, government agencies and other key stakeholders, which led to the passage of Connecticut's 2011 paint stewardship law. EPA noted that the law "is expected to save Connecticut up to $7 million per year and recover up to 880,000 gallons of leftover paint, much of which will be turned into new paint by a recycled paint manufacturer that plans to move to Connecticut because of the new law."

PSI was recognized for aiding in Maine's passage of the nation's first product stewardship legislation for mercury lighting, and for being "at the center of the nation's electronics recycling for 10 years."

Finally, the agency applauded PSI's efforts in promoting voluntary recycling programs for rechargeable batteries, mercury thermostats, mercury lamps, electronics, cell phones and pharmaceuticals, and for its role in promoting the opportunity for residents to opt-out of receiving unwanted catalogs, phone books and junk mail.