Elements of EPR
The breakdown below identifies key elements and the options within those elements that are present in various approaches. Each element is a key component of the policy, and the options within each element represent common ways that the element is implemented.
For example: The element Covered Products refers to the types of items that are required to be included within the producer responsibility program. Within that element are different options for categories of covered products, such as All Packaging Types, Paper Products, or Beverage Containers. The actual definition of these options vary by proposal and are explained in more detail on the individual bill or policy position page.
Some options are either/or, but most elements will include multiple options together. The absence of an option within a category does not mean that the program will not include that component, only that it was not included in the bill or position language. Many EPR proposals specify what should be included in the plan, but the details of the plan are left to be determined during development by the PRO.
EPR proposals specify the types of products covered under the program. These products must be defined, and the definitions typically include format type and material type.
- All packaging types
- Paper products
- Material Specific
- Beverage Containers
Most EPR plans have exclusions for entities that are not required to meet the defined producer requirements.
- Small Businesses
Bills and proposals vary in the degree to which producers assume financial and operational responsibility
- Municipal Reimbursement (Financial Only)
- Financial and Partial Operational
- Financial with Municipal Contracts
- Financial and Full Operational
- Financial and Undetermined Operational
EPR proposals define how fees are assessed and charged to producers.
- Fixed Rate
Additional Policy Levers
Many EPR proposals specify additional features to achieve EPR goals.
- Deposit Refund System
- Landfill Surcharges
- Pay as You Throw Policies
- Recycled Content Minimums
- Mandatory Recycling
- Product or Material Bans
Many EPR bills specify how the program will be enforced.
- Reporting requirements
Some EPR bills define what is considered recyclable and/or what is considered recycling. Proposals may also specify processes that cannot be considered recycling.
- Defines "Recyclable"
- Defines "Recycling"
- Excludes advanced recycling
Covered Entities or End Users
End-users, or entities, covered for collection by EPR proposals must be defined as well. Proposals may cover one or more of the following entities.
- Government, institutional, or academic
- Business or commercial
- Public Spaces
Producer Responsibility Organization
Proposals specify whether producers are individually responsible or are required to join together to create a PRO. PROs vary in structure, and can be nonprofit or for-profit.
- Individual Producer Responsibility
- Collective Producer Responsibility
- Individual Producer Responsibility Option
- Non-Profit Requirement
Funds collected via the EPR programs can cover a variety of costs. These costs are specified within the proposals, and some are more comprehensive than others.
- Operational Costs
- Education and Outreach
- Litter Prevention
- Market Development
- Infrastructure Improvements
Incentivization of product design and material choices that favor reduced environmental impact.
- Recycled Content
- Life Cycle Emissions
- Light Weighting
- Renewably Sourced
Many bills specify timelines for policy implementation.
- Deadline to register
- Deadline to submit plan
- Date of implementation
- Transition period
Whether education and outreach are covered is discussed in the cost section, but the requirements for implementation vary by proposal.
- Product labeling
- End-of-life instructions
- Litter prevention campaigns
- Program awareness
- Shared responsibility of government and PRO
- Program awareness
Proposals may include additional notable considerations that do not fall under the above elements
EPR proposals define the producers to specify who is obligated under the plan or legislation.
Specific targets may be specified in bills or proposals, or the type of targets required to be set in the plan may be directed.
- Rate Targets
- Recycled Content Targets
- Material Specific Targets
- Targets Set in Legislation
- Adjustable Targets
Many EPR proposals specify social considerations to ensure equitable labor and management practices.
- Labor Requirements
- Community Outreach
- Socially Just Management
Considerations for existing or improved infrastructure.
- Maximizes Use of Existing Infrastructure
- Convenience Standards
- Infrastructure Improvements
The role of government in developing, administering, and monitoring EPR programs.
- Plan review and approval
- Enforcement and monitoring
- Fund allocation
Many Proposals place heavy emphasis on involving stakeholders in the program.
- Required consultation during plan development
- Stakeholder Advisory Committee
The interactive Guide to EPR Proposals will break down and compare the various bills and policy positions by element. Look for an announcement when the guide launches!