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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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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.

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