About Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
Extended Producer Responsibility FAQ’s
This page was designed to offer engaging, educational, and thought provoking perspectives about Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). We’ll explore the potential impact of EPR mandates on businesses, consumers, producers and distributors.
Our goal is to keep our customers, visitors and followers up to date on EPR. ind out:
- What’s on the horizon related to EPR mandates?
- Who will ultimately pay for a product’s end-of-life?
- What impact will EPR have on the paper and packaging industry supply chain?
What is EPR?
EPR is an environmental policy approach that extends a producer’s responsibility into the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle.
In other words, if you produce a product that will later become waste, you pay for its recycling or safe disposal.
EPR policies have a number of justifications:
- The policies shift responsibility for waste management away from local governments. “Producers” have to pay waste management costs under EPR. This usually translates into eco-fees or higher prices on effected products at the point of sale.
- EPR policies are based on the “user pay principle.” Through the premiums they pay on the regulated products, the consumers that buy them (not the taxpayers-at-large), pay for dealing with the waste they create. The end user bears ultimate financial responsibility.
- EPR polices may encourage increased recycling. Depending on how the incentives are structured, they may result in increased recovery/recycling.
- EPR policies may encourage design for the environment (DfE). Depending on how the incentives are structured, they may make it more profitable for producers to reduce the amount of waste their products produce (by reducing overall packaging weight, for example), or to design their products to be less toxic or more easily recycled.
The Recycling Regulation
In British Columbia, EPR is governed under the Recycling Regulation, a section of the Environmental Management Act, introduced in 2004.
How does the Recycling Regulation impact Producers?
The regulation requires that producers of specified “product categories” meet certain recovery and recycling obligations:
- They are required to prepare “stewardship plans,” which set out how they plan to meet their financial and operational obligations
- Plans are generally prepared on behalf of affected producers) by a representative industry association(s)
- Industry contracts or creates a “stewardship agency” to administer their collection program and other elements in their stewardship plan (stewardship agencies are not-for-profit, non-governmental entities)
The Recycling Regulation currently covers a dozen or so product categories including beverage containers, paint, solvents, used oil, and electronics.
There are a similar number of stewardship agencies including Encorp, Product Care, Call2Recycle and BCUOMA.
As of May 19th, 2011, “packaging and printed paper” (PPP) was added as a regulated product category. The category includes all printed paper (with a small number of exceptions), as well as all types of packaging, regardless of material type. Click here for a briefing document distributed by the MOE regarding packaging
- To date, producers are only obligated to finance a collection and recycling system for residential material
- Industrial, commercial and institutional waste (ICI) has been left out for the time being.
- Draft stewardship plans are due to the Ministry of Environment by November 2012, after which there will be an 18 month review and amendment process; plans will be approved and in place by May 201
The wide range of products and producers affected may mean that multiple stewardship Agencies are created.
Government-facilitated stakeholder consultation sessions are planned for the fall of 2011.
Is Your Business Ready for EPR? Check out Urban Impact’s EPR Update Powerpoint
John Kendler, Urban Impact’s Policy Analyst provides an update on EPR and how it may impact your business. Check out Urban Impact’s ERP Presentation.
Check out a BC Ministry Environment presentation A World Without Waste Presentation by David Lawes.
What’s Been Happening with EPR Lately? Check out the EPR Update.