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Re: [greenyes] Producer responsibility

Alex raises three important issues. I will comment on them in the reverse of the order he raised them

1. Landfill bans
I absolutely believe landfill bans are "an effective part of building the better mousetrap". As long as cities, towns and counties permit people to put products in the trash, where's the incentive to do anything else. If recycling is the right thing to do then let's not offer disposal. Only when we stop picking up after the producers (and consumers) of throwaway products will they learn how to pick up after themselves (by building the better mousetrap).

2. Shared responsibility
It is critical that each of the entities that "share" the responsibility does what they do best:
* the brand-owners who design the products and organize the production, distribution and sale of the product will also organize the collection and recycling (not to mention the clever ads and incentives that entice consumers to participate!)
* the consumer will choose the products that are easiest to recycle because they can't just throw them away anymore
* the goverment will do what is its core competence: make the rules and enforce them.
My impression is NEPSI has failed to deliver for two reasons: because the US regulators are smitten with "voluntary" measures (what rational company is going to take on extra cost unless they are forced to do so?) and because the conversation was all about "financing" and not about fundamental, transformative change to the way products are managed at their end of life. Until local governments (and well intentioned non-profits who compete against the waste industry for recycling contracts -- both draining the public purse for services that they should be supplying to the brand-owner) get out of the business of recycling and let it become an "extension" of the producer's marketing system, we will not break through the impasse.



Think of it as a soccer game. You need players and a referee. You wouldn't want the referees in micro-managing the plays -- let alone handling the ball! Likewise you wouldn't want the players issuing red cards on the other team's members. Sharing responsibility is about doing what you do best.

At 09:21 AM 2/17/2004, CUYLER Alex D wrote:
also struck by the fact that after almost three years of attempting to allow
industry to create a take back scheme for electronics in the US, they
couldn't build a better mousetrap.
Some manufacturers and industry associations are still even questioning
whether their products create any harm, in somewhat the same way that
certain other industries denied that cigarettes cause cancer or whether guns
kill people or people kill people.

My two cent's is that I still very much like the concept of shared
responsibility. I don't want to see programs developed that place all the
onus on the consumer, the industry, or government.

Perhaps other's could answer the following question for me: To what degree
do landfill or other disposal bans have on creating energy for EPS or design
for recycling efforts? In Oregon, there isn't much enthusiasm on the part
of state or local governments for banning materials from landfills (tires,
auto batteries, white goods are statutorily banned), although several
privately held landfills have imposed their own bans on certain things
(fluorescent tubes, computer monitors). Is banning materials from disposal
an effective part of building the better mousetrap?

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