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What is the Cost-Benefit of Extended Producer Responsibility on Waste Packaging?

packaging_home_imageOne of the biggest obstacles we face in reducing trash in the U.S. is waste packaging. The concept behind extended producer responsibility, or EPR, is that if manufacturers are made responsible for the end-lives of their commodities they will design those products more responsibly and with less waste.

EPR is popular in other countries. Notably, Europe has made it a law. But it has been slow to catch on in the U.S. Many lawmakers fear that EPR policies will stifle the manufacturing sector, thereby hurting the economy. Furthermore, American’s are avid consumers of disposable, single-use convenience items, and we show no sign of stemming that appetite. As long as there is a market for these products manufacturers will continue to make them.

There are some very visible examples of EPR in the U.S. Examples include bottle bills, automotive battery core deposits and electronic buy-back laws. There is ample evidence that these policies result in far greater reclamation numbers in states where they exist. For instance, beverage container recovery rates in the 11 bottle bill states are 2.5 times higher than in the other 40 states*.

Despite evidence of this type many remain skeptical that EPR is effective…or at least cost-effective. To that end, Recycling Reinvented is launching a study to evaluate the cost-benefit ratio of EPR on product packaging and printed paper. While most of us in the recycling industry support EPR, there are few U.S. based scientific research studies to back up its effectiveness. I, for one, eagerly anticipate the results.



Recycling Reinvented Announces Rigorous Cost-Benefit Study on Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging and Printed Paper (via MarketWire)

SOURCE: Recycling Reinvented March 19, 2013 09:24 ET Study Will Provide Objective Analysis of EPR Model ST PAUL, MN–(Marketwire – Mar 19, 2013) – Recycling Reinvented announced today it has commissioned a cost-benefit analysis study to provide stakeholders with a data-driven, fact-based appraisal…

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