In Germany, reaching such a conclusion is a serious business. When Töpfer stepped in – an economist by training – he was determined to apply the polluter pays principle, i.e. the principle that requires that the costs of pollution be borne by those who cause it. The principle would soon lead to the concept of shared or extended producer responsibility that has now spread right across the planet. He achieved this on June 12, 1991 when the German Packaging Ordinance went into effect. What exactly did he achieve? Economists define any activity whose effects do not entirely benefit or whose consequences do not entirely fall upon their promoter, as being “externalities”. Instead, they end-up affecting society and the environment at large. Some of these effects are positive:...