Producers, Not Consumers, Responsible for After Life of Products

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Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), also known as Product Stewardship, is a strategy to place a shared responsibility for end-of-life product management on the producers, and all entities involved in the product chain, instead of the general public. This encourages product design changes that can minimize a negative impact on human health and the environment at every stage of the product’s lifecycle.

The EPR approach allows the costs of treatment and disposal to be incorporated into the total cost of a product. It places primary responsibility on the producer, or brand owner, who makes design and marketing decisions. It also creates a setting for markets to emerge that truly reflect the environmental impacts of a product, and to which producers and consumers respond.

Product stewardship program generally allocates responsibility to provincial or municipal governments. Costs can be internalized as a factor of production or may be passed on to consumers. In contrast, under a product stewardship program, legislated environmental fees and/or public funds are commonly used as a funding base. Product stewardship programs usually do not allocate financial responsibility to producers.

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