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BIR ‘reservations’ over OECD’s draft guidance on EPR

Global – While commending the OECD’s latest guidance document on extended producer responsibility (EPR), the BIR world recycling organisation nevertheless identifies ‘key reservations’ about its content.

Entitled ‘Extended Producer Responsibility: Updated Guidance’, the OECD document ‘should have been much stronger with its advice to governments to recognise that, where there is well-functioning recycling of end-of-life goods, EPR schemes are neither the most economic nor the most effective instruments’, argues BIR.

Furthermore, the world body adds, the report ‘should have advised governments to assess the need to keep EPR schemes in place once they have a self-sustaining recycling infrastructure operating’.

Noting that the OECD guidance covers the issue of competition, BIR emphasises once again the importance of ensuring that an EPR scheme ‘does not restrict recyclers’ access to recyclables’.

Also in its comments on the draft guidance, BIR draws attention to the following observation made by the OECD: ‘Arguably, the single most important challenge is to make EPR systems more transparent. EPRs should be required to make available the information needed to assess their performance and to identify ways in which they can be made more efficient and effective.’

Some 400 EPR schemes have been implemented worldwide, according to BIR, with the aim of making producers responsible for the environmental impacts of their products through such mechanisms as take-back requirements, advanced disposal fees and deposit/refund systems.

The EPR issue will be among those addressed at the BIR International Environment Council meeting in Berlin on June 1, it is noted.

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