Nestle Waters Execs on EPR

From smartplanet.com’s interview with Kevin Mathews, Nestle Water’s director of health and environmental affairs for North America, and Michael Washburn, director of sustainability for North America, about the company’s recent efforts to craft water use ratio targets and develop more comprehensive water “footprinting.”

The industry pact is an interesting way to think about extended producer responsibility. Sometimes it’s called “product stewardship” or “sustainable packaging.” It’s a process in which the costs of the packaging are internalized in the product and made transparent to the consumer: you buy a pack, and see an eco-fee on your receipt. A penny a bottle, perhaps. Produce baskets. Egg cartons. It ends up being a lot of money. What government can do is regulate the use of those dollars to only be made available to enhance state recycling projects, not going into state budgets but into a trust fund managed by a non-profit.

It’s difficult to develop a recycling system that just develops PET bottles. It’s aluminum, glass, plastics — it’s holistic. We feel like it’s where the world is going. You see the beginning of it, primarily around hazardous materials — batteries, paints.

Long-term in this country, it would collect more material, it would be self-funding, and create enough material flow — revenue — to stimulate domestic investment in recycling.

Read the whole interview on Smartplanet.com.

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