Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility – financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products. Assigning such responsibility could in principle 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.
The UK Government has committed to introduce Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging, and launched a second consultation on March 24th 2021, in conjunction with the second consultation on a deposit return scheme (DRS). Responses to this second consultation should help ensure an effective system is put in place.
The aim is to create a scheme that incentivises producers to design packaging that is easy to recycle and ensure that they pay the full net cost of managing this packaging once it becomes waste. This is in line with the polluter-pays principle.
Extended Producer Responsibility is an established policy approach adopted by many countries around the world, across a broad range of products and materials. It gives producers an incentive to make better, more sustainable decisions at the product design stage including decisions that make it easier for products to be re-used or recycled at their end of life. It also places the financial cost of managing products once they reach end of life on producers.