Product Stewardship

AROW promotes the principles of Product Stewardship to shift how products are managed in Wisconsin's communities at the end of their useful lives.  By working together, producers, consumers and government can achieve sustainable solutions.

"Product Stewardship is a product-centered approach to environmental protection that calls on those in the product life cycle - designers, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers - to assume primary responsibility for minimizing the product's environmental impact through all stages of the product's life cycle and for paying the costs of managing the product at the end of its useful life."  Read the full policy here.


AROW Product Stewardship Policy

Our Priorities

What is Product Stewardship?

The act of minimizing health, safety, environmental and social impacts, and maximizing economic benefits of a product and its packaging throughout all lifecycle stages. The producer of the product has the greatest ability to minimize adverse impacts, but other stakeholders, such as suppliers, retailers, and consumers, also play a role.
Stewardship can be either voluntary (product stewardship) or required by law (extended producer responsibility). The Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP) is an example of product stewardship as it involves voluntary actions to improve recycling of a material. WRAP is a national public awareness and outreach initiative designed to make plastic film – including wraps, bags, and flexible packaging – a commonly recycled material. WRAP works with stakeholders including local and state governments, retailers, and material recovery facilities (MRFs) to educate consumers about what types of plastic film are recyclable, and how and where to recycle it.

Many successful WRAP campaigns across the U.S. have helped communities keep plastic film out of their MRFs and increase the amount of plastic film collected for recycling at drop-off locations. Learn more here.

What is Extended Producer Responsibility?

EPR is a mandatory type of product stewardship that includes, at a minimum, the requirement that the producer's responsibility for their product extends to post-consumer management of that product and its packaging. Two features of EPR policy: 1. Shifting financial and management responsibility, with government oversight, upstream to the producer and away from the public sector. 2. Providing incentives to producers to incorporate environmental considerations into the design of their products and packaging.

The E-Cycle Wisconsin program is an example of an EPR policy as it involves mandatory actions to improve recycling of a material. E-Cycle Wisconsin is a statewide, manufacturer-funded program that recycles certain electronics used in homes and schools. Each year, manufacturers of products covered by Wisconsin's electronics recycling law must pay for electronics to be recycled. This funding makes it easier for individuals and schools to recycle old electronics.

The E-Cycle Wisconsin program is supported by Wisconsin's electronics recycling law (2009 Wisconsin Act 50), which bans electronics such as TVs, computers, and cell phones from Wisconsin landfills and incinerators. Learn more here.

What is a Circular Economy?

A circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It is based on three principles: 1. Design out waste and pollution
2. Keep products and materials in use
3. Regenerate natural systems

Mohawk’s Recover program is an example of circular economy. Many Mohawk carpet products use post-consumer materials for their product manufacturing processes. Consumers may then recycle their old carpet through the Recover program, allowing those materials to be used again in new products. This process “closes the loop,” diverting from landfill and eliminating waste by extending a material’s useful life.

AROW believes product stewardship can minimize the product's life-cycle environmental impact by:

  1.  improving the design and manufacture of products and their packaging to facilitate           their reuse, recycling, or recovery and

  2.  establishing programs to collect, process and reuse, recycle or recover products             and their packaging when they are discarded.