Producer responsibility


dumpstertaoist made a great point in a comment to my former post, and I have the fantastic Swedish holier-than-thou reply! This should probably have gone in the original post, but I actually forgot about it. When one takes things for granted…

Anyways, here goes: Back in Sweden, manufacturers are governed by what’s called “the Producer responsibility”. It essentially means that companies selling products that will end up as garbage are responsible for the collection and disposal of their discarded products. The producer responsibility law stipulates companies obligations in five areas:

  • Packaging
  • Tyres
  • Newsprint
  • Vehicles
  • Electrical and electronic products

You can read more, in english, at the web of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency! Among other things, check out the Waste Council.

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6 Responses to “Producer responsibility”

  1. everydaytrash Says:

    Wow. So my next question is, how did you guys establish these laws and regulations in the first place? And how can we get some!


  2. everydaytrash Says:

    One more question. I just clicked through that Swedish EPA site. Very cool. It made me wonder how waste collection works in Sweden. Is all waste transport run by the government, or do you have some of the same politics of private waste hauling/profit from transporting trash that we have here?


  3. Victor Bernhardtz Says:

    I actually don’t know exactly how these laws came into being, but they’ve been around since the early 90s, if I’m not mistaken, being the offshoot of the then high debate on pollution.

    Waste-taking-care-of is the responsibility, in general, of municipals. Sweden is divided into 290 municipals, and with a total population of just over 9 million, these are fairly small entities. Stockholm municipal (not greater Stockholm) is largest with just under 800 K ppl, Bjurholm the smallest with just over 2,5 K ppl.

    Then, while it is the responsibility of the municipal, transport and recycling is subcontracted to private corporations. The largest we have is Ragn-Sells, who according to thier web “has about 2,800 employees and maintains a fleet of approximately 1700 vehicles. The turnover was in 2007 about 420 million EURO.” []

    This might not look too impressive, but Ragn-Sells are of course part of a much larger, global, industry. More on that later.

  4. everydaytrash Says:

    Yes, much more! Investigating the money flow of waste hauling was one of the original intents of everydaytrash. Time to get back to our tra$hy roots.

  5. dumpstertaoist Says:

    Fantastic, Victor! This was the point of my rant, to bring up this very important subject of producer responsibility. I mean no offense to anyone calling recycling a goodwill exercise, but I don’t believe in sacred cows either. One must examine closely topics like recycling, because anything that the government tells us is morally right and a “must-do” should always be scrutinized. In some cases recycling costs more energy than is saved, you know?

    By putting pressure on the actual producers of the actual producers, we could encourage them to come up with more environmentally sound products and packaging. Hit em where it hurts, in the wallet.

  6. everydaytrash Says:

    Here, here to hit ’em where it hurts. And here here to dumpstertaoist for keeping everydaytrash such an interactive space for trash dialog. Hear that other readers? We LOVE comments.

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