Publication Date

Summer 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Dustin Mulvaney


conservation, EPR, legislation, paint, resources

Subject Areas

Environmental science; Environmental law; Environmental management


Due to increasing volumes of certain types of waste and the cost of municipal waste management, California and local jurisdictions are pursuing legislation to engage manufacturers in the collection and disposal of the products they manufacture. These legislative frameworks take many forms, but many employ the “producer pays” principle commonly referred to as “extended producer responsibility” (EPR). These policies, which are more common in the European Union, are often contentious and difficult for U.S. governments to pursue, as targeted and influential industries resist policy implementation. The objective of this thesis was to better understand the reasons for the successful implementation of EPR in California, using waste paint as a case study. Using the lens of "policy stream" theory, this study of EPR can result in a better understanding of the considerations at play in California, offering an informative roadmap to implement similar waste management strategies in other places and with other products. The results indicate that (1) a lengthy stakeholder dialogue process, and (2) a growing social awareness surrounding the targeted waste stream, were the most influential factors in enabling waste paint policy streams to move toward successful implementation. These factors should be central to developing EPR policy strategies in California