In this article, we analyze the Minnesota Electronics Recycling Act to explore the benefits and potential drawbacks of a market-based extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation implementation with operational flexibility for manufacturers. Based on publicly available reports and stakeholder interviews, we find that the Minnesota Act attains two key goals of market-based EPR (i.e., higher cost efficiencies and substantial landfill diversion); however, this may come at the expense of selective collection and recycling, an increased burden on local governments, and a loss of balance in contractual power between stakeholders. We observe that these concerns arise because of specific flexibility provisions afforded to manufacturers that allow them to operationalize their EPR compliance with a cost-efficiency focus. Thus, we conclude that EPR goals must be carefully translated into operating rules in order to achieve goals while avoiding unintended consequences.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work received partial funding from the National Science Foundation, Division of Design and Manufacturing Innovation (NSF-DMI) grant number 1031167. The opinions expressed in this article and any associated mistakes are the authors’ own.
We express our sincere thanks to Garth Hickle, Executive Member Product Stewardship Team Leader of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; he made this research possible by sharing his expertise and facilitating stakeholder interviews. We express deep gratitude to the stakeholders who agreed to meet with us and share their perspectives, including: Paul Gardner and Recycling Reinvented; Jennifer Havens, sales manager at Universal Recycling Technologies,?LLC?(headquartered in Wisconsin); Jeremy Jones from Hennepin County Environmental Services; Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; Julie Ketchum, Director of Government Affairs at Waste Management; Molly Pederson from Conservation Minnesota; Brita Sailer, executive director of the Recycling Association of Minnesota; and Laura Villa, Household Hazardous Waste Manager at Dakota County.
© 2018 by Yale University
- State of Minnesota
- electrical and electronic equipment
- environmental policy
- extended producer responsibility (EPR)
- industrial ecology