Product stewardship is an approach to minimize the health, safety, environmental, and social impacts of a product throughout its lifecycle. While producers/manufacturers of products have the greatest ability to minimize adverse impacts, other stakeholders, including, but not limited to, suppliers, distributors, retailers, haulers, recyclers, and consumers, also play an important role. Product stewardship can be either voluntary or mandated by law.
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a mandatory or legislated form of product stewardship that places the primary financial and managerial responsibility for the environmentally responsible end-of-life management of a product on its producer/manufacturer. EPR policy shifts the burden away from municipalities and taxpayers to those putting products into the market, and often provides incentives to manufacturers to incorporate environmental considerations into the design of their products and packaging.
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