Allan Gerlat, News Editor

September 15, 2015

17 Slides

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws, which require the manufacturer of a product to be responsible for its ultimate recycling, reuse or disposal, has become a significant waste management option in recent years in the efforts to increase recycling and landfill diversion rates. Of the 67 laws that have been passed on specific products, only seven were adopted in the 1990s. The bulk of the laws have come in the past 10 years. (There are a total of 81 state EPR laws passed in the United States, counting all 50 states. There also have been nine local EPR laws.)

The Boston-based Product Stewardship Institute has actively championed EPR laws and proposed laws as a central part of its mission. "When manufacturers are responsible for managing their products at end-of-life, they are often motivated to make environmentally beneficial design changes that render products more sustainable throughout their life cycle," the association said.

Manufacturers have at times resisted producer responsibility laws, opting instead for voluntary, market-oriented plans. And some question how much impact on recycling and landfill diversion EPR laws have actually made to date. Nonetheless, legislative activity has accelerated as governments look for different ways to better improve their sustainability.

About the Author(s)

Allan Gerlat

News Editor, Waste360

Allan Gerlat joined the Waste360 staff in September 2011 as news editor. He was the editor of Waste & Recycling News for the first 16 years of its history, and under his guidance the publication won 27 national and regional awards.

Before Waste & Recycling News, Allan worked at another Crain Communications publication, Rubber & Plastics News, which covers rubber product manufacturing. He began with the publication as associate editor and eventually became managing editor, a position he held for nine years.

Allan is a graduate of Ohio University, where he earned a BS in journalism. He is based in Sagamore Hills, in northeast Ohio.

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