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Extended Producer Responsibility: Reexamining its Role in Environmental Progress

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Publication Date: June 2002

Publisher(s): Reason Foundation

Author(s): Dana Joel Gattuso; Joel Schwartz

Topic: Environment (Environmental policy)

Type: Other


As consumers press for continued environmental protection, firms competing in the marketplace are stepping up their efforts to add environmental value to their customers through new products, new services, and new organizational arrangements.

In other words, markets are serving as a discovery process in which part of the search for adding value involves experimenting with new manufacturer-supplier-customer relationships. Mandated EPR programs override this discovery process, forcing the creation of take-back schemes into a regulatory framework that prescribes institutional arrangements. Like earlier environmental regulations that prescribed technological responses, such mandates stifle innovative market processes, impose uniform procedures for diverse circumstances, and, because they are mandatory, necessitate the acquisition and reporting of large amounts of implementation and compliance data.