Producer Responsibility Laws Could Make Companies Pay for Recycling

HYANNIS – An official with the World Wildlife Fund has reported that 71% of Americans want the country to reduce its reliance on plastic and also highlighted a new policy some states are introducing to address the issue.

WWF Senior Program Officer of Plastic Policy Advocacy Anthony Tusino shared the statistic from a recent study the group conducted on plastic pollution on coastal states like Massachusetts.

The group’s survey sampled roughly 1,000 American households. Fifty-three percent of those who responded thought companies producing plastic should help cover the costs of a recycling system.

Tusino said that several states are starting to consider Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws that will hold corporations accountable for their products.

“Lots of states are beginning to consider Extended Producer Responsibility, that idea that producers of plastic and packaging pay for its collection and recycling and are held to target,” Tusino said.

He said Colorado recently passed the county’s first full EPR legislation with businesses there having about four years to transition their systems.

Other states like Massachusetts, Maine, New York, and Oregon have also started to consider EPR policies.

The WWF official said that although people are motivated to address the issue of plastic pollution, they don’t always have the tools they need.  

“It feels hard to be a consumer where you’re inundated with plastic all the time that one small action will have an impact,” Tusino said.

“While that might be worrisome that we feel we won’t make an impact, I think it does motivate us to realize that we need to change the system as a whole,” he added.

The update comes as National Oceans Month enters its final days, and the WWF reports that 11 million metric tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans each year.

Tusino said individual steps like recycling are important, but that people also need to reach out to lawmakers about making policies so that plastic does not continue to end up in the ocean.

Tusino also serves as a leader of OneSource Coalition, a partnership between environmental groups and companies that want to responsibly handle plastic waste.

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.
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