California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Product Stewardship and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

Haulers, Recyclers, and Processors

Why are haulers and recyclers involved in product stewardship? | Why are raw materials processors involved in product stewardship? | Roles and responsibilities | Action Steps | Resources

Why are haulers and recyclers involved in product stewardship?

Product stewardship creates a system where producers assume responsibility for their discarded products so they are reclaimed for reuse, recycling, or other waste management options. The producer either hires another organization to carry out this responsibility, or in some cases does it on its own. Many producers choose to work with a stewardship organization. A stewardship organization, sometimes referred to as a Third Party Organization or a Producer Responsibility Organization, works on behalf of a producer to undertake product stewardship duties that include the collection and management of products after they have been used by consumers. The producer or stewardship organization will typically negotiate contracts with service providers for reuse, recycling, and other waste management services. These services are just as critical in a product stewardship program as more traditional programs that are government-run and financed.

Why are raw materials processors involved in product stewardship?

Raw materials may be virgin materials that are extracted or harvested from the earth or they may be recycled materials that are extracted or harvested from old products, also referred to as waste. Generally, virgin materials, especially metals, are more resource intensive to produce than recycled materials and that is why many environmental benefits can result from recycling. Raw materials, regardless of the source, need to meet certain performance standards to be used in new products. When producers design products so materials recovery is easier, it can allow for higher quality recovered materials and greater system wide efficiencies. To create efficient material recovery systems, it is important for recyclers and raw materials processors to work with producers and product designers to reduce contaminants and increase material recovery.

Roles and responsibilities under the CalRecycle EPR Framework

The basic role of haulers, recyclers, and raw materials processors is to meet standards or use best management practices for handling products and materials and provide information to producers that can be used to design and/or label products to enhance recovery. Haulers and recyclers are compensated for their services. In many respects, these roles and responsibilities are similar to traditional systems. However, contracts would be negotiated with producers or stewardship organizations rather than with local governments.

Roles and responsibilities are laid out in the CalRecycle EPR Framework guidance document (see section on Haulers and collectors, and Recyclers, dismantlers, and processors).

Action steps

The following action steps can help you to engage in EPR-related discussions in California:

  • Review and familiarize yourself with EPR information on CalRecycle's website:
  • Refer to this website for examples of policy and law in the United States and worldwide.
  • Join the EPR listserv to keep up-to-date on EPR developments at CalRecycle.
  • Learn how stewardship organizations are helping other producers meet their obligations.
  • Check into product stewardship and EPR-related organizations that seek to work with producers and other stakeholders in exploring opportunities to maximize the benefits of EPR programs.

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Last updated: June 24, 2010
Extended Producer Responsibility and Stewardship
Contact: (916) 341-6449