Letter to the Editor: EPR Debate Needs Some Perspective

Date: 3 Sep 2012 | posted in: Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Published in Waste & Recycling News, print edition 

Please keep Waste & Recycling news reporter Shawn Wright assigned to cover the important extended producer responsibility (EPR) debate, such as in his story, “Study shows landfilled resources worth billions,” WRN, Aug. 6.

His article is the first I have seen that approaches the subject in a balanced and professional manner. Up until now we have had books, blogs, reports, articles, webinars and press releases announcing the arrival of total EPR as a “one-stop shop” to save recycling from its allegedly inherent inefficiencies and short-comings.

The quotes from Jim Frey of Resource Recycling Systems give readers a realistic perspective of the diverse approaches to recycling. For example, if discarded PET packaging is worth $2.9 billion, why not use minimum content or direct incentives to pull this material into the marketplace. Or, challenge the beverage and packaging industry to support container legislation, a proven success in recycling plastics.

Plastic refillables make even more sense. But if the beverage and container industries control recycling, the best approaches to recycling plastics will be abandoned.

Neil Seldman
President, ILSR, Washington, DC

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Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D, directs the Waste to Wealth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and businesses recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy through new processing and manufacturing facilities. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.