Let’s talk about… EPR!
The population in 1967 was less than 3.5 billion of persons and production of plastic was less than 25 million tons and now we are over half a century later and the plastic production is over 400 million tons a year and the population is 7.9 billion, so the population has gone up two times and the production of plastic has gone up 16 times.
Less than 10% of the plastic is being recycled, because the other 90% is not getting collected it doesn’t have the economic value to make it worthwhile to be collected and recycled; if it was gold, it wouldn’t be sitting out anywhere other than in the hands of people that want the valuable material : EPR policies can address that problem and they can bring the plastic back into the system and the circular economy.
What is Extended Producer Responsibility and why is it important?
EPR is an environmental protection strategy to ensure that producers and manufacturers take responsibility for the full lifecycle of their products and packaging. This means more producers offer maximize the life use of a plastic product, so it can be reused, repaired, and recycling over disposal, ensuring to keep waste out of our oceans and the environment.
In order to ensure compliance, the EPR guidelines has to put in place a mechanism, like incur a financial penalty, where in case of non-compliance, SOMETHING MAY HAPPEN TO THE PRODUCER of that packaging material which has put that product on the market. Make the companies understand that when you are going to put a product in the market it is a business proposition that you are coming forward with, so now you will have to present this business proposition aligned with an environmental sustainability mandate and get all the cost in regards with the collection and recycling or end-life disposal INCLUDED.
… Is still required for this shift in policy to be successful, which system designers can enable by designing convenient collection infrastructure that is easy to use.
1 – Resource Recovery Playbook: Expectations for the circular economy of 2030 and the steps required to a sustainable future – TOMRA, 2020
2 – EPR Unpacked: A Policy Framework for a Circular Economy – TOMRA, 2022