The EPA defines product stewardship—also known as extended producer responsibility—as a product-centered approach to environmental protection, in which manufacturers, retailers, users and disposers share in the responsibility to reduce the environmental impact of products.
“The RPA is embracing this important issue because our goal is to promote the value and expansion of reusable materials as preferred packaging solutions across supply chains, private or public,” says Tim Debus, chairman of RPA’s industry development committee and director, new business development at IFCO Reusable Plastic Container Management Services. “RPA’s support of these principles is consistent with our organization’s mission and goals, and we believe the RPA can play an important role in developing an appropriate and responsible approach to product stewardship as it relates to transport packaging.”
The Product Stewardship Institute and many state and local jurisdictions have worked together to establish a framework for product stewardship, which includes producer responsibility; shared responsibilities with retail, government and consumer participants; governance of activities; financing of programs; and environmental considerations.
“We support these principles because they are a first step in establishing a common public policy, or framework, to discuss and debate the best ways to handle the resources used for moving products in commerce,” says Jon Kalin, RPA chairman of the board and sales and marketing manager for Rehrig Pacific. “We think this shared common goal can benefit manufacturers of packaging products, the consumers who benefit from the packaged products and government entities that must manage the waste that is generated. However, the RPA will review emerging federal, state and local laws on a case-by-case basis before lending our support to anyone.”