What is Product Stewardship / EPR?
Product stewardship is the act of minimizing the health, safety, environmental, and social impacts of a product and its packaging throughout all lifecycle stages, while also maximizing economic benefits. The manufacturer, or producer, of the product has the greatest ability to minimize adverse impacts, but other stakeholders, such as suppliers, retailers, and consumers, also play a role. Stewardship can be either voluntary or required by law.
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a mandatory type of product stewardship that includes, at a minimum, the requirement that the manufacturer’s responsibility for its product extends to post-consumer management of that product and its packaging. There are two related features of EPR policy: (1) shifting financial and management responsibility, with government oversight, upstream to the manufacturer and away from the public sector; and (2) providing incentives to manufacturers to incorporate environmental considerations into the design of their products and packaging.
- “Extended Producer Responsibility in the U.S.; Full Speed Ahead,” Journal of Industrial Ecology, Feb. 2013
- Product Stewardship and EPR: Definitions and Principles Product Stewardship Institute (PSI)
- NWPSC Video: Better Way-Product Stewardship (WMV format, 14 min; offsite)
- Joint Framework EPR Principles (adopted by local government councils)
- National Association of Counties Framework EPR Resolution (July 2008)
- Minnesota Product Stewardship Recommendations Report (MPCA, Jan 2009)