Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


ORCID 0000-0002-7755-1316



Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Department of Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies


Robert Alexander

Matthew Chamberlin

Jennifer Coffman


This thesis was developed based on an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Policy briefing I created during my internship at RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) during the summer of 2021. This project expands upon the work created during the internship. It examines the connection between circular economy and EPR policies, as well as how they can create effective strategies for waste reduction and recycling in the U.S. It demonstrates how the current linear economic system under which the U.S operates and its connection to single-stream recycling are inefficient at best. The thesis then describes how a circular economy (CE) can provide one pathway towards reducing waste and increasing recycling rates within the U.S. It examines EPR policies for plastic, packaging, and paper products (PPP) can help transition towards a CE. This thesis provides the foundation of EPR principles, the history of EPR as well as two case studies, one on EPR for rechargeable batteries in the U.S. and another focusing on national EPR policies in the European Union (EU). The benefits of EPR and CE are also described. A current state of the industry report is provided along with recommendations to help prepare businesses for the potential passage of EPR policies.



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