Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policies, also known as Product Stewardship (PS), require manufacturers to assume appropriate responsibility of their products at the end of their useful life. These policies improve recycling, create green jobs, and encourage producers to design more sustainable products, all at no cost to taxpayers or solid waste system ratepayers.
At this time, over 23 states have taken a leadership position by passing legislation mandating statewide electronic waste recycling using the EPR approach, including New York State. Other materials that may be subject to an EPR framework include paint, carpeting, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and mercury containing products (such as Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs)).
Implementing EPR legislation relieves local tax payers and rate payers from the cost of collecting and processing these materials for safe disposal, recycling, or reuse. Sustaining these costs on an ongoing basis is an unreasonable financial burden for municipal solid waste programs. If product producers are financially connected to the end of life management of their products, they would surely design safer, easier to recycle goods. The environmental benefits include:
- The extraction rate of natural resources, including foreign oil, precious metals, and iron ore, needed for the manufacture of new materials, would decrease,
- The generation of greenhouse gasses associated with those energy-intensive mining processes would decrease, and
- The quantity of heavy metals and other toxic/hazardous components entering the waste stream would decrease.
NYSAR3 provides a liaison to the New York Product Stewardship Council’s (NYPSC) Steering Committee; The NYPSC is dedicated to shifting New York’s product waste management system from one focused on government funded and ratepayer financed waste diversion to one that relies on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), or Product Stewardship, in order to reduce public costs and drive improvements in product design that promote environmental sustainability. Learn more online at: http://www.nypsc.org/
For more information about how EPR policies can reduce the environmental impact of consumer products and lead to a more sustainable materials economy, please visit the following links: