"Sorting trash for recycling—which people used to do for money —has become a moral act, a symbol of care about the environment." —Susan Strasser, a historian of American consumer culture.
Susan Strasser, Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash. New York: Metropolitan, 1999, p. 293.
Yet environmental groups believe that recycling actions by consumers alone will not be enough. Many advocates, for example, propose expanding state container deposit laws, which require companies to take back the bottles used for their drink products, in order to increase the recycling of bottles and cans. Some experts also support expanding this idea to require producers of other types of products to take back, or recycle, their products at the end of their useful lives. In certain countries in Europe and in the Canadian province of British Columbia, for example, governments have begun adopting a waste policy known as Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, to require any company that sells a consumer product to provide cradle-to-grave take-back service to its customers. Helen Spiegelman describes the policy as it has been implemented in British Columbia:
In British Columbia these laws are being introduced one product category at a time. First the producers of paint were called to the table and required to set up a program to take back and recycle their products from consumers. Then the producers of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, fuels, and paint thinners. Then beverage producers. Most recently the producers of packaged motor oil and oil filters.
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