Groups agree on producer responsibility terms

Mike Verespej

Published: April 12, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Suppliers, Sustainability, Consumer Products, Packaging, Recycling

WASHINGTON (April 12, 3:25 p.m. ET) — Underscoring the increased focus on extended producer responsibility in the United States, three leading product stewardship organizations have agreed on definitions of both EPR and product stewardship to help guide further public discussion on the two issues.

“The movement to shift responsibility for spent products and packaging from taxpayers to the producers who design, make and sell them is growing both among leading corporations and state and local governments in the United States,” the groups said in a joint statement April 12.

The three groups are Boston-based Product Stewardship Institute Inc.; Sacramento, Calif.-based California Product Stewardship Council; and the Product Policy Institute of Athens, Ga.

The groups defined EPR as “a mandatory type of product stewardship that includes — at a minimum — the requirement that the producer’s responsibility for their product extends to post-consumer management of that product and its packaging.”

In addition, they said that EPR both "shifts financial and management responsibility — with government oversight — upstream to the producer and away from the public sector," and provides “incentives to producers to incorporate environmental considerations into the design of their products and packaging.”

The three groups defined product stewardship as “the act of minimizing health, safety, environmental and social impacts, and maximizing economic benefits of a product and its packaging throughout all life-cycle stages.”

They added that product stewardship can be either voluntary or required by law, and said that while “the producer of the product has the greatest ability to minimize adverse impacts, ... other stakeholders, such as suppliers, retailers and consumers, also play a role” in product stewardship.

The groups also listed the following principles of EPR and provided extensive details about how those programs should work, and the responsibilities of the parties involved:

Producer responsibility

Producers are required to design, manage and finance programs for end-of-life management of their products and packaging as a condition of sale. These programs may or may not use existing collection and processing infrastructure. Programs should cover all products in a given category, including those from companies no longer in business and from companies that cannot be identified.

Level playing field

All producers within a particular product category have the same requirements, whether they choose to meet them individually or jointly with other producers.

Results-based

Producers have flexibility to design the product management system to meet the performance goals established by government, with minimum government involvement. Producer-managed systems must follow the resource conservation hierarchy of reduce, reuse, recycle, and beneficially use, as appropriate. Products must be managed in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment. Producers design and implement public education programs to ensure achievement of performance goals and standards established by government. All consumers have convenient access to collection opportunities without charge.

Transparency and accountability

The government is responsible for ensuring that producer programs are transparent and accountable to the public. Producer programs, including their development and the fate of products managed, provide opportunity for input by all stakeholders.

The groups also defined roles for government, retailers and consumers:

• Government is responsible for ensuring a level playing field for all parties in the product value chain to maintain a competitive marketplace with open access to all, for setting and enforcing performance goals and standards, for supporting industry programs through procurement, and for helping educate the public.

• Retailers only sell brands within a covered product category that are made by producers participating in an industry program, and are responsible for providing information to consumers on how to access the programs.

• Consumers have a responsibility to reduce waste, reuse products, use take-back and other collection programs, and make appropriate purchasing decisions based on available information about product impacts and benefits.

The definitions, said the three groups are “consistent with international definitions [and] reflect the progress that has been made in the past decade since the product stewardship movement took off in the U.S.” They have been endorsed by 48 businesses, stewardship organizations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

The list includes eight state product stewardship councils: the Natural Resources Defense Council; plastic packaging producer Peninsula Packaging Co.; recycled product and recycled plastic fencing manufacturer Close The Loop LLC; and Terracycle, which makes plastic products from waste collected through school brigades, retailers, movie theaters and sports venues.

The list can be found at: http://productstewardship.us/associations/6596/files/Endorsers4-12-12.pdf.


Comments

Groups agree on producer responsibility terms

Mike Verespej

Published: April 12, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Chicago City Council committee approves plastic bag ban

April 24, 2014 7:11 pm ET

Chicago is poised to become the next major U.S. city to enact a ban on single-use plastic bags after a City Council committee vote on April 24.    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Simpsons go Lego, Pharrell Williams gets into recycled plastic

April 24, 2014 8:45 am ET

Lego has teamed up with "The Simpsons" for a special episode, we see the trends at the International Home + Housewares Show and musician Pharrell...    More

Image

PolyOne says new Shanghai center will ease collaboration across segments

April 24, 2014 2:34 pm ET

PolyOne Specialty Engineered Materials is opening an innovation Center in Shanghai's Jinqiao development zone that will serve as its new Asia Pacific ...    More

Bemis Co. reports flat quarterly sales and profit

April 24, 2014 3:22 pm ET

Bemis Co. Inc. feels no pressure to fill its vacant chief financial officer’s position, a slot that has now been vacant for months.    More

Interactive map aids polypropylene recycling efforts

April 24, 2014 1:34 pm ET

Folks interested in recycling polypropylene products now have a new tool at their disposal.    More

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events