First of all, happy Earth Day!
Here’s a neat idea for Canadians: have manufactures pay for waste management of their products. To our European (and some other) readers, this is not a new or crazy idea, but here in Canada this concept is revolutionary. For Earth day The Toronto Star has examined how Ontario can get manufactures to make more environmentally friendly products through legislation – and things are looking good.
One of the most obvious steps is Extended Producer Responsibility, the European concept that the manufacturer must cover the full cost of properly recycling or disposing of a product at the end of its life cycle.
The merits of EPR are simple: It entices companies strictly for cost reasons to redesign their products so they are easier and cheaper to recycle.
European rules, for example, forced Apple to create a computer without lead – leading to lower costs at the end of its life.
In its purest sense, EPR challenges companies to make product lines that lead to zero waste, because no waste would mean no charges at the end of the day.
The requirement may sound radical in Canada, but elsewhere, especially throughout the European Union, EPR is a familiar feature on the regulatory landscape.