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PSI Publishes Article on EPR Trends in December 2014 Issue of Resource-Recycling

Friday, December 12, 2014  
Posted by: Rachel Rose Belew
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EPR's Next Step

by Scott Cassel

Back in 2000 the terms "product stewardship” and "extended producer responsibility” were rarely uttered in the U.S. Today there are 84 EPR laws in 33 states across 12 product categories. 

These laws are spreading both in the U.S. and around the world, and for three basic reasons: They have saved millions of dollars for government agencies, they have created jobs and they have reduced waste by using materials more sustainably.

EPR laws also have the potential to influence the environmental design of products, rendering them more sustainable across their life cycles. For those less familiar with the term, EPR is a type of legislation that requires manufacturers to take financial and managerial responsibility for the end-of-life management of their products and
packaging.

Like other environmental programs, EPR initiatives need to be nurtured and maintained to ensure that they stay relevant and effective in a dynamic marketplace. This has not always happened. Or, if it has, it’s been well after problems have manifested. In addition, not all EPR laws are good laws. This is due largely to a lack of collective U.S. experience in planning for and implementing these new systems, and/or weak laws resulting
from the political process.

We are clearly not yet at the EPR tipping point in the U.S. But what is evident is the growing interest in EPR – among states and local governments that consider this policy central to achieving their waste management goals, among environmental groups and other organizations, and among waste management and recycling companies that count on EPR policies to provide funding so that their firms can be hired to manage the additional
supply of collected materials. 

This article will provide a status update on EPR systems in the U.S. It will identify which products provide the greatest lessons and which offer new or emerging opportunities. It will lay out the elements of a good EPR law. And it will discuss key issues being debated in the field. 

To read the published article in its entirety, click here.

Reprinted with permission from Resource Recycling, www.resource-recycling.com.



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