Extended Producer Responsibility

A Guidance Manual for Governments

Municipal waste has increased 22 % per capita from 1980 to 1997. At the same time, the difficulty of siting new waste disposal facilities has increased. While major progress has been made to lessen the per capita generation of air and water pollution over the past decades, waste generation is still on the rise. Faced with the increase of waste, many governments have reviewed available policy options and concluded that placing the responsibility for the post-consumer phase of certain goods on producers could provide a means to relieve certain environmental pressures, arising from post-consumer waste. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach under which producers accept significant responsibility - financial and/or physical - for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products. Assigning such responsibility could provide incentives to prevent wastes at the source, promote product design for the environment and support the achievement of public recycling and materials management goals. Within the OECD the trend is towards the extension of EPR to new products, product groups and waste streams such as electrical appliances and electronics. This guidance manual represents one means to inform national governments about the potential benefits and costs associated with EPR.

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