Product stewardship is the act of minimizing health, safety, environmental and social impacts, and maximizing economic benefits of a product and its packaging throughout all of its life-cycle stages. CSWD believes a management system that shares responsibility among consumers, government agencies and product manufacturers is the best way to reduce the impacts of products and their packaging at the end of their lives.
Product stewardship programs may be either voluntary or mandatory. Laws mandating that manufacturers take back their products for recycling are called extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws. They are one type of product stewardship that CSWD has been instrumental in promoting and enacting.
Why CSWD advocates for product stewardship
- It reduces the cost to taxpayers of recycling or disposing of products.
- It increases the recycling rate by creating convenient collection locations for consumers when they are finished with a product.
- It conserves resources by encouraging reuse and recycling through good product design.
- It reduces the toxicity of materials used in manufacturing.
Vermont’ EPR laws and programs
Batteries: Act 139 establishes a product stewardship program for primary (single use) batteries. Effective 2016.
Mercury Lamps: Act 36 established a program under which manufacturers are required to collect and recycle mercury-containing bulbs. Effective 2011. To learn more about safe handling and collection options, visit the CSWD Fluorescent Bulbs page.
Electronic waste: Act 79, effective 2011, established a program for convenient and low- or no-cost recycling of televisions, computers, and a variety of other electronics. For more information visit the Vermont e-cycles page.
Mercury Thermostats: Act 149 established a program under which manufacturers are required to collect out-of-service mercury-containing thermostats. Effective 2008.
Automobile Switches: Act 117, effective 2006.
Lead-acid batteries: Effective 1993.
Certain Dry-Cell Batteries: Effective 1991.