Product Stewardship in North America and Europe
Final Report, MS2 and Perchards, 2009
About the report
This report has been prepared by MS2 and Perchards to summarise the key features and outcomes of product stewardship and extended producer responsibility schemes in North America and Europe.
The report analyses a range of North American and European schemes including those that address electronic waste, packaging, beverage containers, batteries, and mercury-containing lamps and other mercury-containing products.
The report notes that many of the drivers and factors that have influenced the evolution of product stewardship schemes overseas can vary from those in Australia, particularly those relating to landfill capacity and costs. These two factors have added momentum to the development of product stewardship initiatives in Europe. The report notes that each approach to product stewardship needs to be examined to understand the policy drivers and evolution and potential applicability to Australia.
The report also notes that while no one product stewardship approach could be simply copied and introduced into Australia for a product or material, lessons from these schemes may be applicable to the development of product stewardship schemes and regulations in Australia. These include the need for clear program objectives, collaborative approaches to designing the programs, justified market interventions that support competition, and robust process to establish and review fee structures based on program costs.
The report concludes that product stewardship schemes that feature collaboration with affected stakeholders and which build on the strengths of existing infrastructure, systems and networks (as for Minnesota’s WEEE scheme and the US Product Stewardship Institute for mercury-containing products) are more likely to have better results and may require shorter lead times to implement.
The report forms part of a suite of research reports used to inform the National Waste Policy - Less waste, more resources.