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EPR is the extension of the responsibility of producers for the environmental impacts of their products to the entire product life cycle — and especially for their take-back, recycling, and disposal.

Check links below for INFORM’s research on this important issue.

Waste in the Wireless World: The Challenge of Cell Phones
(109 pp., can be downloaded in PDF format in entirety) This report by INFORM Senior Fellow Bette Fishbein examines the waste issues posed by cell phones and other wireless electronic devices: the growing numbers of these products that are purchased and discarded and the many toxic substances they contain. Also examines government policies and corporate initiatives addressing the end-of-life management of electronic products in the US and abroad and presents a series of specific recommendations for minimizing the environmental and health impacts of this rapidly growing waste stream.

Return to Vendor: A Solution to Obsolete Computer Equipment.
An article by INFORM Senior Research Associate Alicia Culver from Closing the Circle News, Spring 2001, Issue 22, White House Task Force on Recycling.

Leasing: A Step Toward Producer Responsibility
This report examines the practice of leasing products, rather than selling them, as a strategy for increasing resource productivity, particularly by preventing waste generation and encouraging a closed-loop pattern of materials use through reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling. Explores the ways in which leasing and servicizing (selling the function of a product rather than the product itself) can affect product ownership, management at end of life, and product design for a variety of companies and products. Includes case studies focusing on office equipment, carpeting, cleaning equipment, and personal computers.

Carpet Take-Back: EPR American Style

(12 pp., text format) An article by INFORM Senior Fellow Bette Fishbein, one of the world’s leading authorities on EPR, from Environmental Quality Management, Vol. 10, No. 1, Autumn 2000, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Extended Producer Responsibility: A Materials Policy for the 21st Century

(290 pp., can be downloaded in PDF format in sections) This book addresses materials use and its environmental impacts worldwide; EPR policies and programs in the United States; e-commerce and its potential environmental impacts and implications for EPR; and the corporation’s role in implementing EPR and related policies. Prepared on the occasion of Expo 2000, the international exposition held in Hanover, Germany, from June 1 to October 31, 2000, the report’s findings were presented by its authors — Bette Fishbein of INFORM, John Ehrenfeld of MIT, and John Young of the Materials Efficiency Project — at the Berlin Resources Summit preceding the exposition.

EPR: What Does It Mean? Where Is It Headed?

An article by INFORM Senior Fellow Bette Fishbein, from P2: Pollution Prevention Review, Vol. 8, No. 4, October 1998, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

An interview with INFORM Senior Fellow Bette Fishbein on EPR

From Environmental Manager: Environmental Solutions That Make Good Business Sense, Vol. 10, No. 1, August 1998, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

What Are Rechargeable Batteries? (1998)

This fact sheet provides a basic explanation of rechargeable batteries, their uses, environmental impacts, and disposal.

For information about rechargeable battery recycling, contact the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation:

Case Study: Industry Program to Collect Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd) Batteries (1997)

This report looks at one example of extended producer responsibility in the US– the national program launched by the manufacturers of nickel-cadmium batteries and the products that contain them to collect and recycle these batteries, at industry expense.

Germany, Garbage, and the Green Dot: Challenging the Throwaway Society (1994)

The German Packaging Ordinance of 1991 shifted full responsibility for managing packaging waste from municipal government to private industry. This report provides detailed documentation of the German Green Dot system.

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