Extended Product Responsibility: An Economic Assessment of Alternative Policies

Extended Product Responsibility embodies the notion that agents along a product chain should share responsibility for the life-cycle environmental impacts of the product, including those associated with ultimate disposal. Extended Producer Responsibility is a narrower concept which places responsibility on producers and focuses primarily on post-consumer waste disposal. Manufacturer "take-back" requirements are the policy lever most often associated with Extended Producer Responsibility. In this paper, we discuss alternative incentive-based policies that are consistent with the objectives of Extended Product and Producer Responsibility. We argue that an upstream combined product tax and recycling subsidy (UCTS) is generally more cost-effective and imposes fewer transactions costs than the take-back approach. We also consider the strengths and weaknesses of a policy not targeted at producers: unit-based pricing of residential waste collection and disposal. We find that this option shows potential for achieving non-trivial reductions in solid waste. Widespread application in the U.S. of a $1.00 charge per 32-gallon bag could reduce total municipal solid waste disposed by approximately 13 percent per year.


Issue Date:
1999
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/10830
Total Pages:
14
JEL Codes:
Q2; H2
Series Statement:
Discussion Paper 99-12




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-04-04

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