Extended Producer Responsibility - How does it work?
Updated: Oct 8, 2022
When talking about the Circular Economy, one could feel entirely overwhelmed because Circular Economy is, indeed, the concept of open possibility, innovative design, agile sharing loop, and integrated reusing, collecting, or recycling system. So, where should we start?
We start with one practical scheme which not only facilitates a robust recycling system but also, at the same time, incentivizes disruptive design – The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
What is Extended Producer Responsibility?
Extended Producer Responsibility is a strategic policy that uses the life cycle approach to give the producers significant responsibilities toward products’ end-of-life treatment. The responsibility could be in the sense of either financial or physical, or both. The life cycle approach sees a product in a cradle-to-cradle system from the beginning of design to the end phase of circulating products/materials back to the economy or turning them safely to nature.
The concept of Extended Producer Responsibility was first introduced by Swedish academic Thomas Lindhqvist in his book published in 2000, Extended Producer Responsibility in Cleaner Production: Policy Principle to Promote Environmental Improvements of Product Systems. Thomas Lindhqvist continued to state
“..environmental objective of a decreased total environmental impact of a product, by making the manufacturer of the product responsible for the entire life-cycle of the product and especially for the take-back, recycling, and final disposal.”
The benefits of Extended Producer Responsibility
So what is exciting about Extended Producer Responsibility that many countries started to adopt this scheme? There are two principles that Extended Producer Responsibility emphasizes: Waste management and Ecodesign. Through these core lenses, Extended Producer Responsibility is a promising practice that induces environmental, social, and economic benefits.
Reduce the overall plastic waste
Improve end-of-life treatment
Reduce the organizational and financial burden on the government
Integrate and boost the informal sector
Increase the incentives for green design, resources efficiency, and low-impact products
Cost-effective waste management system
Relieve the negative impact on other sectors: fishing, tourism…
The model of Extended Producer Responsibility
This model is based on the financial responsibility/ contribution of Producers.
Example model of Extended Producer Responsibility plan in Vietnam