We at the Ecology Center are great believers in “Product Stewardship,” which is also known as “Extended Producer Responsibility” or EPR. EPR is a policy approach that shifts the responsibility for waste management costs from solely being the burden of taxpayers and ratepayers to include manufacturers of products who can compete to reduce recycling costs. There are big costs associated with throwing things away, especially things that contain hazardous ingredients that must be handled safely, such as paint and brake pads. We think that the companies who make these products should design them with the product’s end-of-life in mind, so that waste – particularly hazardous waste – is minimized. Europe is way ahead of the US in implementing EPR legislation, but California is taking some strides forward. Three product stewardship bills have recently been signed into law: AB 2398 about carpet recycling, by Assembly Speaker John Perez; AB 1343, about paint recycling, by Assembly member Jared Huffman; and SB 346, about reducing copper in brake pads, by Senator Christine Kehoe. Click here to read the press release that California Product Stewardship Council prepared on these legislative victories.
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