100 local communities now embrace producer responsibility

Increasingly, local governments say producers and actual consumers -- not all taxpayers -- should pick up the disposal tab.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

The Product Policy Institute, which is an organization that advocates on behalf of local governments concerned about how various products are produced and (ultimately) discarded, reports that 100 local governments have now adopted a policy that supports the idea that states should push extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies within their jurisdiction.

EPR basically supports the philosophy that a product 'brand owner' should handle its cradle-to-cradle design and recycling process. There are 22 U.S. states that have some sort of EPR policy for electronic waste (or e-waste). Among the most active states are California, New York, Texas, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. But there are also product stewardship councils in places like Vermont.

The latest community to get on board is Roseville, Calif., according to the Product Policy Institute.

The motivation is simple: these local governments believe that is should not be the taxpayers responsibility to pay for disposal of items that are especially costly to recycle or refurbish. Here's a comment from Victoria Reinhardt, who is a Ramsey County Minnesota commissioner: "Producer responsibility systems have many benefits to the economy and the environment. EPR system will save taxpayer money, discourage throwaway products and packaging, and create jobs in recycling."

Anyway on either side of the sustainability equation -- whether you're a consumer or producer -- needs to get better acquainted with the implications of disposing of what we use. It's time to get better acquainted with the EPR movement affecting the states where you live or do business.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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