Extended Producer Responsibility, often known as EPR, is the producer's agreement to support a reverse collection system and recycle end-of-life, post-consumer waste. To recover the resources contained in the trash, we need to recycle them back into the system.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a strategy for environmental protection that aims to reduce the overall environmental impact of a product, and its packaging, by requiring manufacturers to assume liability for every stage of the product's lifecycle - particularly in terms of take-back, recycling, and final disposal. EPR is primarily the producer's responsibility because they decide on designs and marketing strategies.
E-waste poses a serious threat to our environment today more than ever because of the technology's outstanding development, and adoption of new devices and gadgets, that have supported new processes over the years. Over the past few years, there has been an exponential increase in the amount of electronic waste.
Implementation of EPR Programmes:
EPR is becoming more widely acknowledged as an effective waste management strategy that may increase recycling and decrease the number of items and materials dumped in landfills. The producers, manufacturers, brand owners, and initial importers of goods and packaging are assigned the legal obligation for material collection, recycling, and end-of-life management of the waste through EPR programs.
EPR policies and initiatives for a variety of products are well established in Europe, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. EPR programmes are starting to be implemented in certain less developed or emerging nations, particularly in Latin America and Asia. However, the majority of these systems are only partially operational at this time.
If implemented properly, EPR programmes can offer a variety of advantages and opportunities. These include higher collection and recycling rates, lower public expenditures on waste management, lower overall waste management costs, and design for environment innovations like increasing product durability and reusability.
How do EPR plans operate?
Governments adopt EPR programs, which provide producers with a legal obligation to follow regulations governing the lifecycle management of their products and packaging, including the attainment of performance goals. Producers have the option of managing the necessary commitments themselves. Else they can pay a third-party organisation, such as a Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO), to handle it on their behalf.
How are EPRs financed?
The industry supports EPR; producers pay for the collecting, sorting, and recycling costs associated with managing the lifespan of their products and packaging. Producers are the stakeholders best placed to execute beneficial changes at the end of the product life cycle because they generate the goods and packaging that are sold.
This constitutes a departure from conventional trash management strategies where municipalities and citizens are responsible for funding, commonly through taxes or direct subscription fees.
What does EPR's future hold?
Depending on whether EPR is implemented in developed or emerging economies, the future of technology is likely to take a distinct turn. While developing countries typically lack recycling infrastructure today, developed markets generally have some sort of recycling infrastructure.
By 2030, developed markets must design 75% of their plastic packaging to be recyclable. Therefore, high-quality systems that promote circularity will be prioritised.
In developing markets, where it is proposed to set a lower goal of 50% of plastic packaging intended for recycling by 2030, more attention needs to be paid to the initial step of constructing a comprehensive yet fundamental infrastructure for collection and recycling. By doing this, EPR laws can be followed.