What is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)?
Extended Producer Responsibility is an environmental policy approach in which the
producer's responsibility for reducing environmental impact and managing the
product is extended across the whole life cycle of the product, from selection
of materials and design to its end-of-life, and especially for their take-back,
recycling and disposal.
The overall objectives cover:
of environmental costs
of the burden on municipalities
- Design of
environmentally sound products
The roots of EPR can be found in product
liability, under which the manufacturer of a product is held liable for damage
caused by that product to the consumer, if it was somehow defective or
unreasonably dangerous. Under product liability, manufacturers are thus held
liable for their products well beyond their factory gates. Product liability
was already an extension of the producer’s responsibility, as before he was
only responsible for the manufacturing process.
EPR is an application of the Polluter Pays Principle. The polluter is not necessary the person
whose activities give rise to pollution, but rather the economic agent that
plays a decisive role in the pollution, like the producer, rather than the
The producers have primary responsibility
under EPR, but sharing responsibilities across the product chain is an inherent
part of EPR. While the policy tool is called Extended Producer Responsibility,
it should be borne in mind that all actors in the product chain and in society
must participate in order to optimise its effects.
Under the Waste Framework
1.In order to strengthen the re-use
and the prevention, recycling and other recovery of waste, Member States
may take legislative or non-legislative measures to ensure that any natural or
legal person who professionally develops, manufactures, processes, treats,
sells or imports products (producer of the product) has extended producer
1.In accordance with the polluter-pays
principle, the costs of waste management shall be borne by the original
waste producer or by the current or previous waste holders.