Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, is recognized as one of the most effective mechanisms to improve recycling rates, reduce litter and create the conditions to incent efficiency and reduce costs for end-of-life management of packaging and paper. We believe the following core principles are integral to a successful producer responsibility program.
Core Principles to a Successful Program
- Producers are fully responsible for financial and operational responsibility for the management of their materials.
- The list of collected materials should be standardized across the province or state (and across the country to extent possible) to achieve economies of scale, program efficiencies and to provide clarity for residents.
- Producers must have the autonomy to design a recycling system that respects local conditions (e.g., geography, population densities, etc.) while driving efficiency and optimizing environmental performance.
- Regulations must be designed for fairness. All obligated producers need to participate and regulators must be prepared to take appropriate enforcement action against free-riders.
- Small business should not be unduly burdened. A reasonable de minimis should be established below which businesses should not be required to report or pay fees. Flat fees should be offered for those businesses that do not fall below the de minimis but are still under a certain revenue threshold.
- Materials must pay their own way in the recycling system. Higher value materials should not cross-subsidize lower value materials.
- Healthy competition must be fostered by employing best practices in the procurement of waste management/environmental services.
- Producer responsibility program operators and service providers are held accountable meaning operators, collectors, transporters, recyclers and processors of end-of-life products/materials are auditable and accountable for their performance.
- Appropriate standards are established so that collectors, transporters, recyclers and processors are able to demonstrate compliance with international, federal and provincial laws and industry standards’ where applicable.
- Producer responsibility programs must be committed to continuous improvement—fostering responsible recycling and achieving higher recycling rates over time.