Extended Producer Responsibility: A Primer

By Pat Franklin
Executive Director
Container Recycling Institute

Presented on November 18, 1997, at the Take it Back! '97 Producer Responsibility Forum

"The responsibility, that the waste generated during the production processes could be taken care of in a proper way, from an environmental and resource-saving point of view, should primarily be of the manufacturer. Before the manufacturing of a product is commenced it should be known how the waste which is a result of the production process should be treated, as well as how the product should be taken care of when discarded.




Bottled Water

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Americans buy an estimated 42.6 billion single-serving (1 liter or less) plastic water bottles each year. Almost eight out of ten end up in a landfill or incinerator. Hundreds of millions end up as litter on roads and beaches or in streams and other waterways. Taxpayers pay hundreds millions of dollars each year in disposal and litter cleanup costs.


Bottle Bills

The Container Recycling Institute is one of the country's foremost advocates of beverage container deposit legislation (commonly known as bottle bills). Beverage containers make up a large portion of litter in the United States, and deposit laws are known for achieving a high recycling rate for beverage containers and reducing litter where other recycling systems have failed. Did you know that states with bottle bills have a beverage container recycling rate of around 60%, while non-deposit states only reach about 24%?


Recycling and Jobs

Five Facts About Beverage Container Recycling and Jobs

CRI Jobs Report
  1. Depending on the system, container deposit-return (CDR) systems create 11 to 38 times more jobs than curbside recycling.

  2. On average, states with deposit-return systems recover roughly three times more beverage containers than non-CDR states.

  3. Jobs gained from recycling far exceed any jobs lost in virgin extraction, landfilling or domestic manufacturing.

  4. U.S. PET reclaimers currently operate at less than 60% capacity due to a lack of quality source materials.

  5. The U.S. loses 800 jobs per year to overseas markets due to the export of PET.



Single Stream Recycling

What is single-stream recycling?

Single-stream recycling is a system in which all recyclables, including newspaper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, junk mail, etc., are placed in a single bin or cart for recycling. These recyclables are collected by a single truck and taken to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to be sorted into various commodity streams for sale to markets, where it is processed into feedstock which can be used in the manufacture of new products.



Zero Waste

Setting Our Sights on Zero Beverage Container Waste

Millions of consumers who recycle every day think that because they recycle their bottles and cans, everyone else is recycling too. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Americans waste (landfill, incinerate, or litter) twice as many beverage containers as we recycle.

In 2006, more than 138 billion beverage bottles and cans were not recycled. Nationwide, that’s about 460 per capita— up from 300 per capita just a decade ago, and this trend of increased wasting is expected to continue.