|

|

What is EPR?

The essence of EPR  Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an efficient resource management tool whereby producers take over the responsibility for the end of life management of their used products. This can include collection, sorting and treating these for their recycling and recovery. Its basic feature is that actors across the packaging value chain (manufacturers, importers and retailers) assume a significant degree of responsibility for the environmental impact of their products throughout their life?cycle. This includes products’ ‘upstream’ impact linked to the selection of materials, product design and production processes as such, as well as ‘downstream’ impact relating to the products’ use and disposal. In so doing, producers accept their responsibility when designing their products so as to minimise their life-cycle environmental impact. They thereby assume legal and economic liability for their products’ environmental impact, starting from the design phase. EPR is therefore about “extending the producers’ responsibility to the post-consumer stage of a product life cycle". Through EPR, Member States also share public service responsibilities with private companies, which have to assume these themselves. The policy first appeared in the early 1990s in a few European Member States, especially for packaging waste, and has later on expanded across the EU and beyond.Since then, EPR has contributed to significant increases in recycling rates and public spending savings on waste management, and helped decouple waste management from economic growth.