Definitions + Principles


Product stewardship means ensuring that all those involved in the life cycle of a product share responsibility for reducing its health and environmental impacts, with producers bearing primary financial responsibility. Product stewardship can be voluntary or required by law.

Extended producer responsibility (EPR), is a mandatory type of product stewardship in which a producer’s responsibility for their product extends to the post-consumer management of that product and its packaging. Read more about the Principles of Product Stewardship

Explore our Dictionary of Product Stewardship Terms

Voluntary vs. Mandatory Programs

Mandatory Programs
Many states and countries have passed laws that require extended producer responsibility for certain products. This ensures a level playing field, and can be necessary for products that do not have a strong market for their recycled materials.

Examples of mandatory producer responsibility:


Voluntary Programs
Some manufacturers, retailers and others take a voluntary approach to product stewardship by offering take-back and recycling programs even when not required by law. This is good corporate citizenship and lets customers know a company is doing the right thing for the environment.

Examples of voluntary product stewardship:

Product Stewardship Resources


PowerPoint Presentation Gallery

Fact Sheets and Case Studies

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