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Extended producer responsibility or product stewardship is a policy approach that aims to increase waste recovery and recycling. Extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems aim to make producers responsible for the environmental impacts of their products throughout the product chain, from design to the end-of-life phase. With about 400 EPR systems currently in operation across the globe, most of them in OECD member countries, these policies have become one of the key approaches in this area. While these systems have helped to increase recycling andcollection rates, as well as generating financial resources to pay for these activities, governments are grappling with a number of issues that hinder their effectiveness and efficiency. This report focuses on free-riding of producers or retailers, which the fast expansion of online sales in recent years has been exacerbating. Online sales are creating new free-riding opportunities as consumers are able to buy more easily from sellers in other countries. These sellers often have no physical, legal entityin the country where the consumer resides, and are not registered with national or local EPR schemes. The consequence is that they avoid producer and retailer/distributor obligations and costs, thereby undermining EPR systems. This report identifies some of the measures that governments and other stakeholders could consider in order to address this issue, including awareness raising, better enforcement of existing rules and the introduction of new regulatory measures.

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