Extended Producer Responsibility: Choice or Duty?

By: Isabelle Kingsley, Category: Lifelong Learning, Date: 14 Sep 2011

Should the government impose schemes for industries to bear the responsibility for the impact that their products have on the environment?

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a concept where manufacturers bear the responsibility for the impact that a product’s lifecycle has on the environment, from raw material to the end of its useful life and beyond.

The goal is to give manufacturers incentive to incorporate environmental considerations into choice of materials, product design, manufacturing process, packaging, transportation and disposal.

The result: sustainable products and less waste!

Currently in Australia, only voluntary schemes are in place. EPR has been opposed by a range of industries for which it has been proposed.

Should the government impose EPR schemes on industries which fail to take sufficient responsibility voluntarily? What do you think?

Have any examples of EPR schemes that are in place and working? Share them!

1 comment

Jonathon Cant - 10.09 AM, 16 September 2011

It is certainly a great way to look at reducing household waste.  In terms of the major contributors to wastage it would be a profitable idea as it would promote, as you rightly stated, more sustainable and biodegradeable packaging.

There has to be some checks and balances before imposition; however, if the company in question has done nothing to reduce its environmental impact or indeed increased its impact then an imposition of an EPR scheme would be beneficial but it needs to absolute in its imposition and not be removed once a company has become sufficiently "green" for society's liking.

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