Organizations Agree on Definitions for Key Terms in Growing Movement for Manufacturer Responsibility for Discarded Products

Date: 23.04.2012

A movement to shift responsibility for spent products and packaging from taxpayers to the producers who design, make and sell them is growing both among leading corporations and state and local governments in the United States. Dozens of new industry programs and state laws to reduce the life cycle impacts of products and packaging have been initiated or adopted in the last decade.  The terms, "product stewardship" and "extended producer responsibility" have been used in various ways to describe these activities.

To allow for healthy public discussion, three leading organizations in the product stewardship field recently agreed on a consistent set of definitions.  The Product Stewardship Institute, the Product Policy Institute, and the California Product Stewardship Council spent over a year harmonizing concepts and soliciting input from stakeholders from business, government, and public interest organizations across North America.  The resulting definitions are consistent with international definitions, but also reflect the progress that has been made in the past decade since the product stewardship movement took off in the U.S.  The definitions have been endorsed so far by 48 businesses, stewardship organizations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

The new definitions replace previous definitions used in the United States over the past decade.

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Source: April 2012, Product Policy Institute, Accessed on 23/04/2012,

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