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New Report Identifies Emerging Global EPR Best Practices for Packaging

Tuesday, March 25, 2014   (0 Comments)

PAC NEXT and PSI offer clarity into high performing EPR programs, complementary strategies


BOSTON, Mass. - A new study of 11 international extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs for packaging has preliminarily identified a series of emerging global best practices for packaging EPR, shedding light on ways to both optimize and harmonize solutions for managing packaging waste.


The report - a culmination of two years of research led by the  Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) in association with the PAC NEXT Policy Best Practices that Support Harmonization Committee - can help industry and government work together to find ways to reduce cost and regulatory complexity in existing EPR programs, and may even serve as a guide for potential EPR programs in the U.S.


"The EPR program summaries provided in this report offer a wealth of data for government agencies and industry groups around the world to evaluate, and we look forward to using this information as a springboard for critical stakeholder dialogues," said Scott Cassel, chief executive officer of PSI. "These programs are extremely instructive to those of us in the U.S. seeking ways to significantly boost recycling rates."  


The report examines the nuanced operations of various EPR programs in Canada (Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia); Europe (Belgium, France, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom); and Australia. Based on an initial assessment of the data collected on these programs, PAC NEXT and PSI conclude that the following attributes, when present together, can constitute a high performing EPR program:

  • The program covers residential, public, as well as industrial, commercial and institutional (IC+I) sources;
  • The program covers all material types (including printed paper);
  • The cost per ton is low;
  • Collection and recycling rates are high;
  • The value and quality of materials are high;
  • The program is convenient for residents and others;
  • Producers take full responsibility for post-consumer packaging management.

"What this report has allowed us to do is develop an understanding of how EPR programs for packaging around the world operate - what they share in common, what they do different, what works, what could use some improvement," said Jennifer Holliday, president of PSI's board of directors. "It is our hope that these findings enable industry and government to collaborate on ways to harmonize packaging waste solutions."


Also based on the data, PSI and PAC NEXT identified the following policies as complementary to EPR, playing an important role in increasing the performance of packaging collection and recycling systems:

  • Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) programs;
  • Mandatory recycling requirements;
  • Landfill bans for recyclable materials; and
  • Container deposit programs.

PSI would like to thank the following project partners for their significant contributions to the report: Fost Plus (Steve Boussemaere); Extended Producer Responsibility Alliance (Joachim Quoden); Éco Emballages France (Valerie Herrenschmidt-Munoz); Éco Entreprises Québec (Mathieu Guillemette); Altstoff Recycling Austria (Christoff Scharff); Nedvang (Paul Christiaens); Stewardship Ontario (Chris Van Rossem); Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba (Karen Melnychuk); Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (Ken Friesen); Retail Council of Canada (Lanny McInnes); British Columbia Ministry of the Environment (Julia Ratcliffe); Australian Packaging Covenant (Edward Cordner); Global Product Stewardship Council (Russ Martin); and Incpen (Jane Bickerstaffe). 


To download a free copy of the report, click here.