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come the first American state to enact a blanket EPR law, which covers all products, going a step ahead of other states which have product-specific laws.

A section of manufacturing businesses are obviously opposed to the expanding ambit of the EPR laws, citing the resulting increase in the price of goods,

which will ultimately be borne by the customer. However, proponents of the EPR laws argue that manufacturers will be encouraged to adopt new product design, incorporating greater longevity and recyclability. The laws also reduce the burden on the tax payer. Some companies have used compliance to EPR laws as an opportunity to establish their green credentials in a bid for consumer loyalty. A call from manufacturers for a uniform national policy on EPR is fully justified.

Unbridled consumerism is undoubtedly a major factor in environmental degradation. The EPR laws will go a long way in goading manufacturers into incorporating easy, eco-friendly means of disposal into their product designs. The burden on landfills will be considerably reduced. The predicted higher costs of goods may be an asset in the long run, by forcing consumers to consider repairing goods for longer life instead of approaching any product as ‘disposable’ – at the tax payers’ expense! The EPR laws will be a definite asset in the battle against global warming.

FOR seasoned shoppers, “buyer’s remorse” is a familiar feeling. “Seller’s remorse” may also become common soon, as ever more governments order manufacturers to assume the cost of disposing of their products after consumers are done with them. Until recently, most laws on “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) or “product stewardship” applied only to specific types of goods, such as car tyres or electronics. But in late March Maine, following the lead of several Canadian provinces, became the first American state to enact a blanket EPR law, which could in principle cover any product.

Governments are eager to

 
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