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.
EPR laws that have passed in VT
Mercury Lamps: Act 36, effective July 1, 2012, established a program under which manufacturers are required to collect out-of-service mercury-containing lamps. To learn more about CSWD’s collection options, visit our Fluorescent Bulbs page.
Mercury Thermostats: Act 149, effective July 1, 2008, establishes a program under which manufacturers are required to collect out-of-service mercury-containing thermostats. Also of interest – landfill banned materials in Vermont.
Automobile Switches: An Act Relating to Management of Exposure to Mercury (2006)
Batteries: Act 139 was passed on May 22, 2014 and establishes a product stewardship program for primary (single use) batteries.