Extended Producer Responsibility

Moving Beyond Waste to Product Lifecycle Stewardship

The Extended Producer Responsibility bill would create a new solid
waste program so that producers of packaging and printed material
would be responsible for collecting and recycling these materials.

The producers would have to pay for the program and would be
mandated to increase recycling rates.

Some Facts:

  • Vermont has a goal of diverting as much solid waste as possible away from landfills.
  • Vermont has historically sought to recycle a large percentage of materials and to be a national leader in the design and implementation of advanced waste management policies.
  • Vermont’s recycling rate has plateaued at approximately 32% and has remained at that level for several years.
  • Vermont has already enacted some Extended Producer Responsibility policies – notably e-waste and mercury waste policies.

The Vermont Product Stewardship Council defines “product stewardship” (another name for Extended Producer Responsibility) this way:

Product Stewardship is an environmental management strategy that encourages those who design, produce, sell, or use a product to take responsibility for minimizing the product’s environmental impact throughout all stages of the product’s life cycle, including end-of-life management. The greatest responsibility lies with whoever has the most ability to affect the full life cycle environmental impacts of the product. This is most often the manufacturer of the product, though all within the product chain of commerce have roles.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) means that instead of government predominantly providing waste management programs for products and packaging, producers must design and implement product stewardship programs that can achieve waste reduction targets set by the state.

The EPR approach calls for producers to ensure safe management of products that they make or distribute. This change provides an economic incentive for producers to find more economically viable methods of production that lead to fewer hazardous or toxic substances and less overall waste.

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