Who Pays for EPR? Producers, Consumer Fees, Taxes and Political Perceptions Webinar
11th Series Product Stewardship Institute Networking Calls
May 18, 2011
from 01:00 pm to 02:30 pm
|Add event to calendar||
May 18, 2011
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET
Interested in receiving in-depth information on cutting edge issues in the product stewardship field? PSI networking conference calls offer a carbon-free alternative to in-person workshops and meetings. PSI networking call participants can listen to expert presentations and ask questions on timely product stewardship issues from the comfort of the home or office.
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) and product stewardship systems shift the cost of managing products from local and state government to producers and consumers, and seek to lower overall system costs. Some conservative lawmakers have labeled this shift in costs as a tax on consumers. They reason that consumers should not have to pay added costs for products if there is no corresponding reduction of taxes. This was the argument that Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota governor, used to twice veto paint EPR legislation that overwhelmingly passed the state legislature, citing the concern that residents would pay twice – once for the fee on each can of paint and a second time because they are already paying for paint collection through municipally-run household hazardous waste programs.
Others see this argument as missing the point of EPR systems, since added costs paid by consumers go toward more convenient collection services and higher performing systems that remove more products from the waste stream and protect the environment. These EPR advocates see the added consumer cost, whether it is noted on the customer’s receipt or not, as an investment in greater environmental protection, along with green jobs. They also view EPR programs as lowering the overall system cost and shifting toward a smaller government role in waste management. Further complicating the issue is whether the fees are visible to the consumer or invisible. Some Canadian provinces, such as Quebec, require fees to be invisible, so that producer costs are internalized to more closely reflect the true cost of production. Other provinces, such as British Columbia, allow producers and retailers to determine whether the fee is visible. Visible fees were at the center of consumer controversy and political upheaval in Ontario last year. Although most U.S. EPR laws do not specify a specific per-product fee be passed along to the consumer, but instead internalize the costs completely, paint laws passed in Oregon and California do include a fee, as does the California carpet law. This webinar will explore the differences between the funding structures employed in EPR and more traditional tax-and-spend systems of environmental management, as well as the public and political perception of such programs.
- Alison Keane, American Coatings Association
- Melissa Walsh Innes, Maine State Representative
- Jennifer Mendez, Carpet and Rug Institute
- Sego Jackson, Snohomish County, WA
- Garth Hickle, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Moderated by Sierra Fletcher, PSI
For registration information, please visit the Product Stewardship Institute website.