What is EPR?
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), also known as Product Stewardship, is a strategy to place a shared responsibility for end-of-life product management on producers, and other entities involved in the product chain, instead of the general public; while encouraging product design changes that minimize negative impacts on human health and the environment at every stage of the product’s lifecycle. This allows the costs of processing 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.
EPR Programs in California
Currently, there are several statewide stewardship programs for the following products:
- Paint: The Paint Stewardship Program ensures that leftover paint is properly managed in a manner that is sustainably funded.
- Carpet: The Carpet Stewardship Program ensures that discarded carpet becomes a resource for new products.
- Mattresses: The Mattress Stewardship Program aims to reduce illegal dumping, increase recycling, and substantially reduce local government costs for the end-of-use management of used mattresses.
- Pharmaceuticals and Sharps: The Pharmaceutical and Sharps Waste Stewardship Program requires safe and convenient disposal options for pharmaceutical drug and home-generated sharps waste.
- Mercury Thermostats: The Mercury Thermostat Collection Act of 2008 provides for producer responsibility of mercury thermostats. The Department of Toxic Substances Control is the lead department for implementing this law.
- Pesticide Containers: Food and Agricultural Code Section 12841.4, covering pesticide container recycling, requires first sellers using certain pesticide containers to demonstrate participation in a certified high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pesticide container recycling program and annually submit certifying documents to the director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation.