Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Green Term of the Week - Extended Producer Responsibility

I read about this week's term while reading Affluenza.

Extended Producer Responsibility is a process by which manufacturers take back the products they produce to recycle them. It's actually a mandate in some Western European countries. 

I don't know how well it would work in America unless people's attitude of entitlement changes. Would anyone really want a stereo that was made with many recycled parts or would they demand all new products?

It's an interesting concept, though. How much stuff could be kept out of landfills if Kenmore took back their refrigerators and reused the still perfectly good parts like the shelves and the doors?

I'm trying to think of any companies in America who do this, and what comes to mind first is Nike. They take back sneakers (not just their's but anyone's) and recycle them into things like running tracks.

I also read today that Best Buy is testing a free e-waste recycling program in certain areas in the U.S. Consumers can return certain items (mostly computer related) to Best Buy. They don't have to have been bought at the store. While this isn't a true example of extended producer responsibility because Best Buy is the retailer and not the producer, it's a step in the right direction.

I found this recent article about extended producer responsibility on the Environmental News Network that's worth a look.

What do you think? Would you buy, say, a new electronic product that was made with recycled products or would you be concerned about it's quality?
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