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Extended Producer Responsibility

Updated Guidance for Efficient Waste Management

image of Extended Producer Responsibility

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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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.

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