Paper Title:

Economic Analysis Of The Product Stewardship Movement: Understanding Costs, Effectiveness, And The Role For Policy

Presenting Author: Karen Palmer (Resources for the Future)
Coauthor 1: Margaret Walls
Coauthor 2:
Coauthor 3:
In many European countries and in Japan, an increasing number of products are subject to “take-back” laws, under which producers are responsible for ensuring that their products or packaging are collected from consumers and recycled at the end of those products’ useful lives. This “extended producer responsibility” movement arose from a desire to reduce waste disposal, relieve the burden on municipalities handling a growing volume of waste, and spur so-called “design for environment” on the part of manufacturers. In the United States, policy-makers have thus far shunned this mandatory take-back approach for a more voluntary effort. In addition, the focus on producers is muted somewhat in favor of an emphasis up and down the product chain. The term “product stewardship” has grown in place of EPR. In this study, we describe the wide range of both mandatory European-style EPR programs in place and the voluntary efforts undertaken by industry in the U.S. We then assess, from an economic efficiency standpoint, the rationale for giving producers a role in management of end-of-life products. We reiterate the long-standing economic arguments for incentive-based policies. And finally, we evaluate the voluntary programs and whether they have the potential to achieve product stewardship objectives.
Link to paper:
Session / Day / Time 5C / Tuesday / 8:00 - 10:00 am
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