The Extended Producer Responsibility (REP) has reduced the financial burden on municipalities, indicates a report released by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB).
REP is a policy approach in which producer responsibility extends to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle.
Thus, Extended Producer Responsibility employs a mix of diverse policy instruments that aims to hold producers financially and sometimes organizationally responsible for the collection, sorting and treatment of products at the end of their life. useful life.
In this way, its objective is to increase the selective collection of products at the end of their useful life and allow their more circular treatment.
The REP is a widely used policy to support the transition to a circular economy, both in the Netherlands and in the rest of the European Union.
The Extended Producer Responsibility schemes for batteries, end-of-life vehicles, electrical and electronic equipment and packaging are implemented throughout the European Union.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the REP also applies to car tires, paper and cardboard, and flat glass.
Producer Extended Responsibility
The Dutch government is also developing a REP policy for other product groups, including mattresses, textiles, and some types of single-use plastics.
The most common REP tools are return requirements, anticipated disposal and recycling fees, and deposit and refund systems.
Return requirements, the most common REP instrument, oblige producers to collect their products at the end of their useful life and organize their proper treatment.
This is generally pursued through specific quantitative collection and/or recycling targets.
Advance disposal or recycling fees are upfront payments that consumers require to cover collection and treatment costs at the end of a product’s useful life.
The REP has also been effective in shifting the financial burden of collecting and treating products away from municipalities and onto producers and consumers.
However, it is not clear whether producers organize waste collection and treatment more efficiently than municipalities.
A well-designed Expanded Producer Responsibility is a useful ingredient in the policy mix on the road to circular economy, but not a panacea.
The REP has increased collection rates, promoted recycling, and shifted financial responsibility from municipalities to producers.
Although there are knowledge gaps, especially related to the lack of empirical research, there seems to be a wide margin to guide the instruments of the CSR towards ecodesign and reuse.
However, the circular economy aspires to more than what the REP can offer on its own.
Just as its effects depend on other (waste) policies, the REP will always require complementary policies, mainly aimed at the production and consumption phases of a product’s life cycle, to facilitate the transition to a circular economy.