The discussions on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) are getting interesting. While there is little controversy over EPR for hazardous items which have no economic value and pose threats to public health and the environment, there is grave concern about EPR for materials that have robust markets, paper, plastic, organic, metal and glass materials. Advocates of EPR for these materials controlled by stewardship associations dominated by the largest consumer product corporations has been challenged by innovative new policies established by the Berkeley Zero Waste Commission and the City Council, and new policy recommendations by the Global Recycling Council of the California Resource Recovery Association. The latter call for local government control over EPR initiatives. One of the reasons for this reconsideration of EPR has been the roll out of corporate dominated stewardship in British Colombia, Canada which threatens the established recycling and reuse infrastructure. In RI and MN, proposed corporate run EPR programs for paper and packaging have been rejected.
Do we want this kind of market and political dysfunction in the U.S.?
This recent article in the Surrey Leader newspaper in British Columbia outlines the local business rejection of the BC EPR program.