Why is EPR important?

Extended Producer Responsibility aims to ensure that manufacturers are responsible for the end life of their products. It is applied in different forms like product take back, economic and market based, information-based, product standards, and regulations. 

EPR creates various economic, social, and environmental benefits, with an improvement in waste management. The products that fall into EPR systems are small consumer electronics, packaging, tires, vehicles, and auto batteries. 

Role Of Stakeholders in EPR

National Government:  

Setting the legislative framework and policies, which include

  • Setting responsibility for producers like targets to take back, collection and recycling
  • Defining roles to other actors working on lower levels like municipalities
  • Approving and monitoring EPR schemes
  • Steps to combat illegal import of packaging waste

Local Municipalities:

  • Municipalities are responsible for collecting waste from households and businesses
  • Provide readily accessible infrastructure
  • Catering information to the public
  • Business/Producers/Manufacturers/Retailers: Meeting the targets and responsibilities according to the guidelines
  • Setting up for-profit or non-profit Producers Responsibility Organisations (PRO)
  • Setting registration, product fee, and collecting fees
  • Build relationships with waste collectors and processors 
  • Make a list of reporting collection and recycle rates
  • Take Back waste packaging
  • Paying a fee to EPR schemes based on packaging material placed in the market
  • Provide information to the consumers and other producers on how to use EPR schemers

Waste Management Companies:

  • Establishing contracts with local municipalities, PRO’s and individual producers
  • Receive funds for collection and management of waste
    Informal Sector:
  • Waste pickers and peddlers should have an equal opportunity to participate in EPR schemes
  • Consumer/Citizens households:
  • Returning the waste products at the end of their life and use the available infrastructure

Key Benefits Of EPR

Environmental Benefits: 

  • Environmentally sound treatment of waste products
  • Promote boosting waste reuse and recycling rates
  • Producers adopt greed design and eco designs for their products
  • Creating resource-efficient products with lower environmental impact
  • Contributing towards a circular economy
  • Economic Benefits:
  • The fee paid by producers for EPR schemes finance waste processing and collection
  • Reduction in waste management costs to governments and citizens
  • Reduction in cost of recycled goods as compared to virgin materials
  • A useful collection of sorted waste material and providing a higher quality of secondary material which are cheaper
  • Job creation in various departments of waste managements with developed infrastructures and technology

Social Benefits:

  • Applies the polluter pays principle and burdens the producers with great social responsibility
  • Reduces health risks of mismanaged wastes
  • Reduces hazardous wastes like WEEE and batteries

Potential steps by the government to implement EPR

  • Research and studies to know the benefits and opportunities of EPR. Investigating examples of well-established EPR policies in other countries.
  • Develop legislation to support EPR with a consultation with stakeholders like producers, manufacturers, local government, and waste companies.
  • Support the essential waste collection infrastructure and technology in cooperation with local governments or informal sectors.
  • Development of markets to support and help EPR schemes to grow. It can also involve cooperating with other stakeholders.

Adding to this, EPR provides beneficial benefits by moving government or public authorities’ responsibility to the manufacturer. Many developed countries are using EPR schemes and policies complying with their provisions to deal with waste management issues.