What Is Extended Producer Responsibility?
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Is a Tool to Achieve These Clean Production Goals
- Overall waste prevention
- The use of nontoxic materials and processes
- The development of closed materials cycles
- The development of more durable products
- The development of more reusable and recyclable products
- Increased reuse, recycling, and composting
- Regionalisation of production, consumption, and materials management
Clean Production systems aim to achieve the closed loop flow of sustainable materials in our manufacturing and food production systems. The idea is to learn from and mimic the dynamic flow of energy and materials within our planet’s self sustaining ecosystem.
The transition to Clean Production will rely increasingly on smaller and cleaner material, water and energy flows. The speed and volume of resources flowing through production-consumption cycles can be reduced by improved product design that allows for reuse of components and materials recycling. A better choice of materials that favors the use of nonhazardous substances in production processes will result in cleaner and safer products
The question is, how do we get there? We all have responsibility to make this happen: citizens, consumers, governments, banks, and industry. But manufacturers have a pivotal role because it is they who design and sell products.
Extended Producer Responsibility is a policy instrument that holds manufacturers responsible for the environmental and social impacts of their products throughout the whole product system. This includes upstream impacts inherent in the selection of materials for the products, impacts from the manufacturer’s production process itself, and downstream impacts from the use and disposal of the products.
Responsibility for product waste streams encourages manufacturers to adopt sustainable product design because they become responsible for take-back, recycling and reuse of their materials in their end-of-life products. It is cheaper and safer to design products that are nonhazardous, able to be upgraded, more durable, more recyclable — or in the case of bio-based materials, safely composted.