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European EPR Club Context and Objectives

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The EPR Club overall objectives are:

• To clarify the EPR concept towards policy-makers and the civil society;

• To build a joint initiative to identify the good (best) practices in the Extended Producer Responsibility field, to disseminate them widely or even reinforce the European legal bases;

• To identify and highlight the parameters that play a specific role in their practical implementation of the EPR Schemes;

• To increase the knowledge and commitment of the producers themselves and to identify the impact on the waste management sector;

• To increase material recycling and to minimise the environmental impact of products and packaging across their entire lifecycle;

• To support measures in favour of eco-design

More than ever, waste prevention and recycling constitute two essential elements to be promoted in a Europe looking for « Resource Efficiency » or more specifically for a «European Recycling Society».

With this objective, different political instruments (legal, economic and educational) should be used, among which well-designed EPR prescriptions and schemes.

It is important to recall that the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98) opens the way to this concept but with a terminology that favours more disharmonisation than harmonization at the European level: the Member States can (but do not necessarily have to) base their policy on this concept; and they can interpret it as:

• a simple obligation of information financed by the producers

• measures in favour of eco-design

• a complete or partial, technical or financial participation for the recovery of products put on the market

In 2014, the European Commission is supposed to make the first assessment of the implementation of the Directive 2008/98, and clarify the quantitative recycling targets, as well as possibly harmonize the use of relevant economic instruments.

EPR has been identified by the European Commission as a powerful tool to increase material recycling. The public and private operators must promote higher recycling performances in order to tend to the European Recycling Society. Valuable know-how can be shared on this subject.

The recently published European Roadmap on Resource Efficiency includes provisions regarding EPR.

In practice, various EPR systems have effectively emerged in Europe for several years already. If the first EPR schemes were focusing on packaging, there is now a wide array of other products covered by EPR schemes.

In general, one would admit that the introduction of this concept has had positive effects on the recycling of municipal waste. The involvement of producers in "post-consumer" issues has also broadened the debate on waste prevention.

However, we observe that the effectiveness of the EPR systems can vary a lot, depending on multiple parameters playing a specific role in their practical implementation. The EPR philosophy is varying from one country to another and currently its implementation is evolving in some countries.

There is still a need to clarify the EPR idea towards policy-makers and the civil society. It is also important to increase the knowledge and commitment of the producers themselves and to identify the impact on the waste management sector.

As a consequence, it is highly desirable today to build a joint initiative to identify the good (best) practices in this field, to disseminate them widely or even reinforce the European legal bases.