What is it about?

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) makes producers responsible for their products and packages when they become waste. It was hoped that EPR would promote producers to make their products and packages more eco-friendly, but that has not happened. Eco-modulation, which adds financial penalties and bonuses to the fees that producers under EPR, is an attempt to improve the recyclability and other aspects of their products and packages. This paper describes that challenges that eco-modulation must address if it is to succeed in accomplishing its goals.

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Why is it important?

Virtually no peer-reviewed research has examined what is involved in realizing the goals of eco-modulation even though this policy instrument is being adopted throughout the European Union and the 4 states in the U.S. that have recently enacted laws establishing EPR for packaging..


There is intense interest in using EPR to address pressing waste-related environmental problems, especially those involving plastic. In many jurisdictions, eco-modulation is being promoted uncritically without careful examination of the factors that are likely to shape what results it is likely to produce.

Reid Lifset
Yale University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Restoring the incentives for eco-design in extended producer responsibility: The challenges for eco-modulation, Waste Management, August 2023, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2023.05.033.
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