Thursday, October 25, 2012

Extended Producer Responsibility Job and Economic Impact Studies

Guest Blog By Duncan Bury

Duncan Bury currently provides consulting services in producer responsibility and waste diversion and formerly worked with Environment Canada where he led files in areas including Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), electronics, product focused policies and international waste policy.  In 2011 he co-founded EPR Canada, a not-for-profit association with a mission to help ensure the continued growth and improvement of EPR policies, programs and practices in Canada.   

The potential job creation impacts of extended producer responsibility and recycling polices were the topic of a recent report I prepared for the Western Product Stewardship Collaborative (WPSC).  The WPSC is an informal collaborative consisting of representatives from the Province of British Columbia Ministry of Environment, the California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and the Washington State Department of Ecology. The statements and conclusions contained in this report are mine and not necessarily those of the WPSC.

With the growth of both product stewardship and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs there has been growing interest in understanding and assessing the job and economic impacts of such programs. Ten major studies conducted between 2008 and 2012 were reviewed.

While specific metrics vary and are hard to compare, the studies reviewed confirm that increasing the diversion of wastes, materials and products is more employment intensive and has a greater economic impact than simply collecting these materials and products as wastes and disposing of them. The adoption of EPR or any other kind of product stewardship program increased recycling and increased material throughput. 

This may have some minor negative impacts on jobs in the waste collection and disposal sector but these job loses will almost assuredly be more than offset by a growth in jobs in the collection of a greater number of waste streams, more processing for recycling and more jobs in the use of the secondary materials recovered.

Here’s what was found:

·       Landfill disposal is not job intensive and generates a small number of jobs compared to waste recycling and waste diversion.

·       Recycling and the use of secondary materials create significantly higher net value added and jobs at higher income levels than waste disposal.

·       Recycling businesses create jobs closer to home and have a smaller environmental footprint than businesses that rely on raw material extraction and manufacture.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are screened before they post. Thank you.