Extended Producer Responsibility
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policies extend the producers responsibility beyond the consumption stage of a product’s life-cycle. Producers are responsible for financing the correct management of the waste arising from their products.
By making producers responsible, an incentive effect is created to design products in innovative ways. Thereby, producers enhance the re-use of refurbished products and contribute towards a Circular Economy.
In addition, recycling and recovery of waste material will become more efficient. Ultimately, a smart product design reduces the disposal of waste and contributes to the efficient use of resources and the retrieval of valuable secondary raw materials.
EucoLight promotes the positive role of EPR schemes on society and the environment with a special focus on lighting products. The reason for this is that lighting products have unique characteristics that have to be taken into consideration in the recycling process.
Our members are experts on the collection and recycling of lighting products. Acting on behalf of producers, EucoLight and its members ensure a smooth functioning of EPR schemes for the lighting sector in Europe.
WEEE is the fastest growing waste stream in the world
● In 2002 the European legislator adopted the first WEEE Directive, which aims at assuring the collection, recycling and treatment of WEEE.
● In 2012, the EU adopted the recast WEEE 2 Directive. As an EPR Directive, it extends the responsibility of producers and distributors of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE), including lighting products, to the end-of-life phase.
● EPR can be considered as product stewardship making producers financially or physically responsible for the collection, treatment and recycling of the products they place on the market once the consumers and end users decide to dispose them.
EucoLight views on Extended Producer Responsibility and the Circular Economy
As the European association of lighting WEEE compliance schemes, EucoLight is committed to the principles of the Circular Economy.
The European Commission adopted an ambitious Package of measures in 2015, which includes revised legislative proposals on waste to stimulate Europe's transition towards a Circular Economy.
The trigger for this activity is the growing awareness of the increasing demand for consumer goods and diminishing primary resources. The Circular Economy represents the best and most sustainable way of securing access to raw materials needed for production processes.
Extended Producer Responsibility helping to make the Circular economy a reality
Since the early 1990's Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) has proven to be a vital tool in helping to make the Circular Economy become a reality. EPR policies extend producers’ responsibility beyond the consumption stage of a product’s life-cycle. Producers are made responsible for the correct management of the waste arising from their products.
EPR ensures that raw materials are recovered. Being responsible for the waste, producers have an incentive to develop product designs that consider aspects such as recyclability. The European Commission acknowledged the importance of EPR by including several related provisions and requirements in the Circular Economy Package.
Working for lighting producers
EucoLight members are experts in the collection and recycling of lighting products. Acting on behalf of producers, EucoLight and its members ensure a smooth functioning of EPR schemes for the lighting sector in Europe.
EucoLight welcomes the initiative of the European Commission and encourages the Council and the European Parliament to strengthen the role of EPR schemes in Europe.
Building an effective Circular Economy package
In EucoLight’s view there are five topics which are of primary importance. EucoLight members believe that there is an absolute necessity for these considerations to be included in the final circular economy package, in order to be effective.
Key requirements recognised by EucoLight:
The need for minimum requirements for EPR schemes at EU level that ensure transparency.
The absence of conflicts of interest and fair practices.
Transparency of the contribution of the producers to EPR for the fulfillment of the collection & recycling objectives.
Correct distribution of responsibilities of different actors in waste management.
Freedom to operate on the whole territory of Member States without barriers as to ensure a uniform territorial coverage.
Minimum requirements for EPR schemes
Having minimum requirements for EPR schemes is essential in order to ensure that all producers contribute their fair share to the end of life costs of a product. Furthermore, the implementation of EPR schemes differs significantly at Member State level threatening to reduce the overall effectiveness of EPR.
No conflict of interest between EPR scheme and waste management operator
To guarantee that EPR schemes fulfill their tasks properly it is essential that there is no conflict of interest between the decision making body of EPR organisation and a waste management operator who provides services to the EPR organisation. This avoids possible consequences in terms of distortion in the waste market.
Producers’ financial contribution should be public information
The financial contribution paid by producers should be made publicly available in order to enhance transparency. Yet, it is important to understand that this can only be done in a collective manner. Providing information about individual financial contributions would conflict with competition law as it provides information about market shares.
All should share financial responsibility of littering
Good EPR policies do not only acknowledge the pivotal role of producers but also the role of other actors involved in the waste chain. After all, retailers, municipalities and especially consumers have important responsibilities in regards to the collection of waste. For example, if consumers do not return products to collection points, these products fall outside the sphere of influence of the producer. Consequently, all actors involved should share the financial responsibility of littering.
The need for uniform territorial coverage
EPR organisations must be required to cover the whole territory of a Member State. If this is not the case this will lead to a scattered system of EPR schemes. This would run the danger of collection services not being consistently available which goes to the detriment of collection rates.
EucoLight supports the EPR club
EucoLight is a member of the EPR Club. Members range from producers and EPR schemes to policy makers.
The EPR club is an exchange platform which
provides a forum to share experiences,
identifies good practices,
and improves the functioning of EPR.
The EPR Club hosts events and debates on a regular basis providing EucoLight with the opportunity to provide expertise on WEEE lighting whilst at the same time gaining insights on other waste streams and identifying points of common interest.