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Canada Proposes Nationwide Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging

A Canadian government task force has announced proposals for nationwide strategies on extended producer responsibility and sustainable packaging aimed at making product makers pay for end-of-life disposal of packaging or to redesign their packaging.

The Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) aims to eventually encompass a broad range products, but is starting off with packaging. The plan was prepared by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment's EPR Task Force, which also developed a strategy for increasing sustainable packaging.

The two plans would work hand in hand, jointly encouraging companies to reduce packaging and rethink what materials they use.

The EPR action plan shifts the burden of dealing with end-of-life of products away from government and taxpayers to the companies that made those items. Businesses would pay into systems for recovering or recycling materials, or they would have to develop their own means to take back products.

An EPR program would also encourage businesses, directly or indirectly, to change the materials in their packaging and move towards less packaging and packaging that can be reused, recycled or dealt with in ways other than being tossed in a landfill.

The plan, if approved, would cover packaging, printed materials, compact fluorescent light bulbs, electronics, household hazards and automotive items within the first six years. In the following two years it would expand to construction and demolition materials, furniture, carpets, textiles and appliances.

Input from the public on the plan is being accepted until May 29.

Trash sign - photo CC license by jenlight

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