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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 the list below for INFORM’s research on this important issue.

  • Reports
  • Articles
  • Fact Sheets and Case Studies
  • Open Letter to Organizations Concerned About Electronic Waste

Reports:

Waste in the Wireless World: The Challenge of Cell Phones
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.

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.

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

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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