Extended Producer Responsibility

Too Much Waste & Why It Matters

Minnesotans continue to throw away more and more trash. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), two-thirds of what Minnesotans throw out doesn’t need to go to our landfills. Instead, the items could have been reused, recycled, or composted. To reduce what’s thrown out, we need systems in place to make reusing, recycling, or composting easy and accessible.

What Extended Producer Responsibility Means in Minnesota

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging and paper products holds manufacturers accountable for their products and packaging throughout the entire lifecycle—from product design all the way through to reuse, recycling, or safe disposal. 

Conservation Minnesota is working with state legislators to implement an EPR program in our state. This program would build off Minnesota’s existing recycling infrastructure to reduce the burden on local governments to deal with waste.

EPR would ensure sustainable funding to offset the cost of collection, expand end-markets, and shift producers to more reusable and sustainable packaging without taxpayer funds. This would lead to the redesign of products to reduce their impacts on the environment.

By increasing recycling, the EPR program would also create more sustainable jobs. Today, about 37,000 jobs in Minnesota are directly or indirectly supported by the recycling industry. These jobs pay almost $2 billion in wages and add nearly $8.5 billion to Minnesota’s economy.