In the News: Neil Seldman
July 9, 2021
Media Outlet: Waste Management World
EPR, or Extended Producer Responsibility, is increasingly being trotted out as a strategy to transition towards a sustainable economy. EPR requires that producers be in charge of collecting, recovering, and disposing of their own products. ILSR’s Neil Seldman argues that while EPR has worked well for the members of the European Union, implementing it in an American context could be harmful. Historically, American companies have been more pressured by consumers than top-down programs. In the past, America has successfully implemented programs such as waste charges and investment in more sustainable packaging. While EPR may still be needed in some American cities where local governments cannot provide waste management services, America is a lot better suited to administer these programs instead.
From a historic point of view, Europe and the US have always had fundamentally different recycling regimes. Whereas in Europe, bottle bills… have been imposed from the top down via the Packaging Directive, consumer agitation is what finally forced US packaging companies to pledge to zero waste packaging.