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Western States May Reform Waste Management

waste2Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a movement to improve product design by altering the financing paradigm for recycling and waste disposal, is picking up steam as California, Oregon and Canada have recently introduced framework EPR legislation.

Also known as product stewardship, EPR essentially attempts to incorporate product lifestyle impacts into pricing, including paying for what happens after a consumer is done with the product. According to a press release from the Product Policy Institute, a framework approach allows a single law to establish EPR as policy while giving state government the authority to address multiple products over time.

Here are some of the recent legislative measures regarding EPR:

  • On Feb. 12, the California Product Stewardship Act, AB 283, was introduced. It is based on framework EPR policy adopted by the California Integrated Waste Management Board in January 2008.
  • On Feb. 18, the Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility was released for public comment by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s Extended Producer Responsibility Task Group. The plan includes a strategy for sustainable packaging.
  • On Feb. 26, an Oregon House Bill was introduced by the House Environment and Water Committee. The Product Stewardship Framework bill targets mercury-containing light bulbs and rechargeable batteries. The state Environmental Quality Commission would adopt recommendations to the legislative body for future products. A companion bill is expected to be forthcoming in the state Senate.
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