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Unformatted text preview: E X T E N D E D P R O D U C E R R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y http://mitpress.mit.edu/jie Journal of Industrial Ecology 3 q Copyright 2003 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University Volume 7, Number 2 The argument is that in collective systems, the ad- vantages from investments in product improvements will not be given only to the company investing, but will be shared, and diluted, among the full group of producers. Can We Take the Concept of Individual Producer Responsibility from Theory to Practice? Thomas Lindhqvist and Reid Lifset O n January 27, 2003, the European Union nally decided upon the directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) (European Union 2003), and a long-lasting de- bate on how best to organize the collection, re- cycling, and treatment of such products in Eu- rope took a decisive step forward. This was important not only because of the environmental implications of inappropriate treatment of the wastes from these products, but also because the debate around the directive included one of the most crucial questions in the extended producer responsibil- ity (EPR) discussion, that is how to give incentives for de- sign improvements. The rationale for EPR can be presented in different ways, and indeed, different actors may have varying views on the real reasons for adopting the EPR principle. From a governmental point of view, there is often a stress on the need for raising funds to cover the costs for proper waste man- agement and recycling, as well as on creating the incentives for changing the way products are de- signed. Although there are real reasons for im- proving an often far from well organized and ap- propriate collection and treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), it is not difcult to agree on the strategic importance of being able to inuence the design process in order to have products that are formed to mini- mize the environmental impacts and, in partic- ular, to be easily dismantled, reused, and recy- cled. That various implementations of EPR systems are capable of bringing together considerable - nancial resources for organizing elaborate recy- cling systems is well illustrated by existing sys- t em s f or pr o duc t s s uc h as packaging, batteries, and vehi- cles. For many years, however, it has been argued that in order to effectively promote design improvements, a system that al- locates individual responsibility for producers is needed, as op- posed to a system that asks pro- ducers reach the set goals to- gether, a so-called collective system. The argument is that in collective systems, the advan- tages from investments in product improvements will not be given only to the company investing, but will be shared, and diluted, among the full group of producers....
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This note was uploaded on 08/06/2008 for the course ESM 282 taught by Professor Geyer during the Spring '08 term at UCSB.
- Spring '08