Extended Producer Responsibility

Extended Producer Responsibility

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20 Sep 2016
9789264256378 (EPUB) ; 9789264256385 (PDF) ;9789264256293(print)

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This report updates the 2001 Guidance Manual for Governments on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which provided a broad overview of the key issues, general considerations, and the potential benefits and costs associated with producer responsibility for managing the waste generated by their products put on the market. Since then, EPR policies to help improve recycling and reduce landfilling have been widely adopted in most OECD countries; product coverage has been expanded in key sectors such as packaging, electronics, batteries and vehicles; and EPR schemes are spreading in emerging economies in Asia, Africa and South America, making it relevant to address the differing policy contexts in developing countries.
In light of all of the changes in the broader global context, this updated review of the guidelines looks at some of the new design and implementation challenges and opportunities of EPR policies, takes into account recent efforts undertaken by governments to better assess the cost and environmental effectiveness of EPR and its overall impact on the market, and addresses some of the specific issues in emerging market economies.

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  • Foreword

    In a world in which sustained demographic and economic growth are exerting increasing pressures on natural resources, establishing a resource efficient economy is central to greening growth. The total volume of material extracted or harvested worldwide reached nearly 72 billion metric tonnes in 2010, doubling since 1980 and an estimated ten-fold increase over the last century. Curbing these trends requires policies that improve resource productivity and that ensure sustainable materials management, building on the principle of the 3Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle – and encouraging more sustainable consumption patterns.

  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Executive summary

    Since the late 1980s, the concept of “Extended Producer Responsibility” (EPR) has become an established principle of environmental policy in an increasing range of countries. It aims to make producers responsible for the environmental impacts of their products throughout the product chain, from design to the post-consumer phase. It was hoped that this would relieve the burden on municipalities and taxpayers for managing end-of-life products, reduce the amount of waste destined for final disposal, and increase rates of recycling.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Overview and updated guidance

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    • Extended producer responsibility – an overview

      This chapter provides an introduction to extended producer responsibility (EPR) by discussing the policy rationale behind the approach, the main instruments as well as the most important trends. It finds that there has been a significant increase in the use of EPR in the past 15 years, with about 400 systems now being in use around the globe, most of them in the OECD region. This has led to important achievements, such as an increase in material recovery rates from different waste streams and the generation of significant financial resources from producers that now contribute to a market that is worth about 300 billion EUR globally. A number of areas where EPRs need to be strengthened are also identified.

    • Towards more effective producer responsibility

      This chapter integrates the main elements of OECD’s 2001 Guidance Document with the findings and recommendations emerging from the most recent analysis of EPRs. It finds that most of the original guidance remains valid and adds guidance in the areas where recent analysis has focused, particularly on the governance of EPR systems, the competition concerns that have arisen, opportunities to strengthen design-for-environment incentives and the role of the informal sector in EPR.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Analysis and key issues

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    • Governance issues and extended producer responsibility

      This chapter begins with a discussion of why government is involved in EPR systemsThe term “EPR systems” is used in this document to refer to the laws, policies, governance structures, and the ensemble of organisations and operations involved in EPR in a given jurisdiction. It includes government agencies, and the EPR chain, i.e. collectors, processors, end use industries, producer responsibility organisations, and clearinghouses. “EPR schemes” is intended to be a narrow term, referring to entities in the EPR chain, especially producer responsibility organisations (PROs). that, on first glance, are intended to lessen the role of the public sector in end-of-life management. Four typical governance structures are then presented and their advantages and disadvantages discussed. The role and status of producer responsibility organizations (PROs) are characterized and the debate over non-profit versus for-profit status for PROs is discussed. From there, the chapter looks at governance functions in EPR and their allocation among different stakeholders, as well as the resources needed for government participation in EPR systems.

    • Competition and extended producer responsibility

      This chapter investigates the effect of EPR schemes on competition in markets. While consensus exists between different jurisdictions on how to assess these effects, there are also differences. Among other things, the chapter demonstrates widespread agreement that: i) EPR policies should be as pro-competition as possible, ii) monopoly should not be the default structure for producer responsibility organisations (PROs), iii) agreements among competitors to establish PROs should be assessed externally; iv) competition authorities should not distinguish between voluntary and government-sponsored agreements; v) waste collection, sorting and treatment services should be procured by transparent and competitive tender.

    • Incentives for eco-design in extended producer responsibility

      One of the key objectives of extended producer responsibility is to shift responsibility for end-of-life management to producers and therewith incentivise them to invest in design-for-environment (DfE) in order to minimise waste management costs. However, due to the fact that most EPR systems have been implemented in the form of collective producer responsibility, DfE incentives have often been found to be very weak. This chapter discusses some of the ways that can help to strengthen these incentives, such as through the implementation of full cost recovery from producer fees, the use of variable rather than fixed producer fees, as well as modulated fees that take account of product design features.

    • Extended producer responsibility and the informal sector

      This chapter examines the role that the informal sector plays in extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems in middle-income countries. It is intended to supplement the 2001 OECD guidance manual on EPR which had focused on EPRs in OECD countries and which did not examine the role of the informal sector in any depth. The main findings of the chapter are that while there are serious concerns about downstream informal dismantling and recycling which can generate negative economic and environmental impacts, the potentially positive contribution of informal waste collection and sorting activities is increasingly recognised. As a result, the policy objective has shifted from “rescuing” to integrating informal workers into formal waste management systems. Recent experience also shows that failure to doing so can seriously undermine EPR systems.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Annexes

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    • Television and computer recycling in Australia

      Full source available at: Bruce Edwards and Declan O’Connor-Cox (2014), The Australian National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, Case study prepared for the OECD, www.oecd.org/env/waste/gfenv-extendedproducerresponsibility-june2014.htm.

    • EPR for used tyres in Flanders (Belgium)

      Full source available at: OVAM (2014), Extended producer responsibility. The case of used tyres in Flanders (Belgium), Case study prepared for the OECD, www.oecd.org/env/waste/gfenv-extendedproducer responsibility-june2014.htm.

    • EPR for waste of electric and electronic equipment in Canada

      Full source available at: Séguin, J. (2014), “Promoting Sustainable Materials Management Through Extended Producer Responsibility: Canadian Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)”, Case study prepared for the OECD, www.oecd.org/env/waste/gfenv-extendedproducerresponsibility-june2014.htm.

    • China's e-waste treatment fund

      Full source available at: Liu, C. (2014), “How does the Chinese E-waste Disposal Fund scheme work?”, Case study prepared for the OECD, www.oecd.org/env/waste/gfenv-extendedproducerresponsibility-june2014.htm.

    • EPR schemes in Colombia

      The development of this case study received the support of Christoph Vanderstricht and his colleagues at Ernst&Young. Full source available at: www.oecd.org/env/waste/gfenv-extendedproducer responsibility-june2014.htm.

    • 20 years of EPR in France: Achievements, lessons learned and challenges ahead

      This note does not intend to give a full description of French EPR schemes, but rather aims to highlight a number of key design elements for EPR schemes, specific features worth considering, as well as attention points, drawing on the French experience to date. For more detailed descriptions of some of the French EPR schemes, please refer to the case studies set up by the European Commission.

    • EPR for used rechargeable batteries in Japan

      Full source available at: Tasaki, T. (2014), “The recycling scheme for compact rechargeable batteries in Japan – under the act on the promotion of effective utilization of resources”, Case study prepared for the OECD, www.oecd.org/env/waste/gfenv-extendedproducerresponsibility-june2014.htm.

    • Recycling of electronic home appliances in Japan

      Full source available at: Hotta, Y., A. Santo, and T. Tasaki (2014), “EPR-based Electronic Home Appliance Recycling System under Home Appliance Recycling Act of Japan”, Case study prepared for the OECD, www.oecd.org/env/waste/gfenv-extendedproducerresponsibility-june2014.htm.

    • The EPR for packaging waste in Japan

      Full source available at: Yamakawa, H. (2014), “The packaging recycling act: the application of EPR to packaging policies in Japan”, Case study prepared for the OECD, www.oecd.org/env/waste/gfenv-extendedproducerresponsibility-june2014.htm.

    • EPR in Korea

      Full source available at: Heo, H. and M.-H. Jung (2014), Case study for OECD project on extended producer responsibility, Republic of Korea, Case study prepared for the OECD, www.oecd.org/env/waste/gfenv-extendedproducerresponsibility-june2014.htm.

    • Electronics EPR in the United States

      Full source available at: Product Stewardship Institute (2014), Electronics EPR: A Case Study of State Programs in the United States, Case study prepared for the OECD, www.oecd.org/env/waste/gfenv-extendedproducerresponsibility-june2014.htm.

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