Framework Legislation for Extended Producer Responsibility Programs
Framework Legislation

for Extended Producer Responsibility Programs

The Problem

More than 115 extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws addressing over a dozen types of consumer products have been enacted across the United States. Over the past two decades, PSI has had a hand in most of them. To this day, we continue to help states and municipalities nationwide craft and pass successful EPR laws that reduce waste, save municipalities money, create jobs, and protect our communities.

We know better than anyone that enacting a product-specific EPR law can require years of research, organizing, stakeholder education, bill drafting, lobbying, and negotiation. Given the thousands of consumer products sold today, achieving comprehensive, successful EPR programs for a broad array of products and waste streams is an uphill battle if we are to pursue it one product at a time.

The Solution

A "framework” legislative approach establishes a consistent and comprehensive process for creating and passing new EPR laws that follow best practices based on years of experience. Framework legislation can, therefore, provide the business community with a more stable regulatory environment.

Effective framework laws strike a balance between flexibility and specificity. Different product types require different approaches – for instance, a well-functioning EPR program for electronics looks different than a program for paint or pharmaceuticals. But framework legislation ensures that EPR programs for all covered products in a state follow best practices that are common to any EPR approach – like producer responsibility, sustainable program funding, sufficient convenience for consumers to drop off unwanted products, a stewardship plan developed by producers for review and approval by the state government oversight agency, and comprehensive public education and outreach.

Although the framework approach is just beginning to be adopted in the U.S., framework laws have operated successfully in Canada for more than 20 years. Framework laws in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario give each provincial environmental agency the authority to select products and implement EPR regulations without returning to the legislature.

Maine is the first and only U.S. state that has adopted a version of framework legislation for EPR programs. The framework law provides a streamlined mechanism for the legislature to approve new products for EPR and enact legislation. Consequently, Maine is also one of the leading states in the movement, ranking within the top three states with the most EPR laws year after year.

How We’re Leading the Way

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PSI initiated the dialogue. The concept of framework EPR legislation for U.S. states first gathered momentum at an early U.S. Product Stewardship Forum, a conference that PSI holds every two years.

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We provide technical expertise and lobbying support. At the request of the Natural Resources Council of Maine and bill sponsor Representative Melissa Innes, PSI testified in support of Maine’s framework bill and provided technical support to state officials in their successful bid to pass the nation’s first framework law. As new framework bills are introduced in other states, we testify in support of their passage and provide recommendations to perfect them.

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We bring people together and create educational resources. PSI’s research establishes best practices and opportunities for the design of framework legislation. A stakeholder dialogue meeting we convened and facilitated in Rhode Island resulted in a menu of approaches that any state can apply to introduce a framework bill.

How You Can Help

Contact PSI to develop framework EPR legislation. Our team will help you determine the right approach for your state, craft bill language that follows best practices, and develop multi-stakeholder support for its passage.

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