Counties Adopt Framework for Sustainable Production

The National Association of Counties on July 15 adopted the first national policy supporting a "framework" approach to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

"NACo's adoption of the Extended Producer Responsibility framework is a great step forward for our environment," said Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt, Ramsey County, Minn. "Smart design protects the environment and saves money by preventing costly waste."

Extended Producer Responsibility is a concept whereby product manufacturers are primarily responsible for the lifecycle impacts of their products. The "framework" concept goes beyond product-by-product approach and establishes consistent principles and procedures for product makers in order to achieve producer-lead responsibility for sustainable product design and management.

Reinhardt was the author of the framework resolution for NACo, in addition to three other product-specific producer responsibility resolutions for paint, electronics, and mercury-containing lamps.

"NACo's resolution signals the beginning of the end of local governments providing "free" disposal services to producers of toxic and throw-away products," says Bill Sheehan, executive director, Product Policy Institute. The Product Policy Institute works with local governments to support state producer responsibility and comprehensive framework policies.

In January 2008, the California Integrated Waste Management Board was the first state agency in the United States to adopt a framework for an Extended Producer Responsibility system. With EPR implementation legislation expected to be considered in California and several other states, and now with the first national association of elected officials supporting the EPR Framework, the effort toward achieving sustainable production gains significant momentum.

Both the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) and the Product Policy Institute are dedicated to reversing the trend of manufacturers producing more disposable and toxic products every year.

The association adopted the resolution in support of an EPR Framework approach at its annual meeting in Kansas City, Mo.

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