TOMRA releases white paper on the effectiveness of EPR programs
To coincide with its 50th anniversary, TOMRA has published a white paper focusing on the effectiveness of extended producer responsibility (EPR). Enshrined in law, this principle has the potential to accelerate the processing of household waste toward a circular economy in which resources are reused multiple times.
TOMRA's new white paper, "EPR Unpacked - A Policy Framework for a Circular Economy," presents different EPR systems for packaging waste and can serve as a guide for policymakers by bringing together the different perspectives and practical experiences for improving existing systems.
EPR systems ensure that producers, who place packages on the market, take responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their packaging – from design, to waste collection and recycling, and final disposal. Since producers must provide funding for this, the waste hierarchy also incentivizes sustainable packaging design and more efficient management.
"Our experience in numerous markets on all continents has shown us which methods can be used to successfully tackle household waste management and which combinations work best," says Wolfgang Ringel, SVP of public affairs at TOMRA. "The result is clear: the legally defined and thus binding obligations are the right way to direct, active climate protection."
Meanwhile, EPR principles are being applied in Europe, but also in other parts of the world. In Asia, local initiatives have developed into cross-sector networks – a response to the fact that 80 percent of plastic enters the world's oceans via Asian waterways.
South Africa and Vietnam have recently implemented EPR programs for packaging, and several states in the United States are currently considering such measures. While these regional efforts are showing results, national and global harmonization remains a challenge, but one that presents great opportunities for the circular economy.
In Europe, the strict targets set by the 2019 Single-Use Plastics Directive have resulted in almost all EU member states introducing legislation on deposit systems for beverage packaging, which will come into force by 2029 at the latest.