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Three key contributions for future EPR regimes

Three key contributions for future EPR regimes

24th July 2018

On Thursday 19th of July the All- Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) held in Portcullis House a lively debate on key principles for Extended Producer Responsibility in the context of the upcoming Resources and Waste Strategy (EPR). 

Under the chairmanship of Policy Connect's Chief Executive Jonathan Shaw, more than 40 attendees followed closely the points raised by Susanne Baker and Nigel Harvey – who presented the manufacturers and producers' point of views from the perspective of techUK and Recolight respectively – and listened to the comprehensive set of insights and recommendations introduced by Wrap's Claire Shrewsbury; Ecosurety's Robbie Staniforth and SUEZ' Stuart Hayward-Higham.

A follow up from a previous APSRG Resources & Waste Strategy seminar on the Next Steps on Resource Productivity, the event focused on EPR regimes and concluded with the panel agreeing on the need to have a system that works for all, based on a series of key points that should form and inform any future EPR regime, such as:

  1. The establishment of a consistent UK wide system. “A logical place to start” and a necessary tool to avoid inter-border issues between the devolved administrations, a solid and clear national directive would also help prevent crime, fraud and unfair competition.
  1. A differentiated EPR approach for different products. Although built upon overarching principles and underpinned by a common framework and a common set of design criteria aimed at contributing to the strengthening of a circular economy, a regime that could be tailored to the different needs of different products would be the most appropriated in the long term, especially as new products are expected to comply with EPR directives. 
  1. A series of clearly established targets based in and informed by strong data. Consistent information and well defined expectations would help level the playing field, while they are also powerful tools that would help foster competition and innovation among producers and retailers, while making things easier and more straightforward for the consumer..

Speakers also agreed on the fact that any new regime should “complement not complicate” what is already in place, both in terms of systems and products, and that policies and communication should help producers, retailers and consumers know and understand their responsibilities and, in turn, make the right choices in each case. Particular issues such as the growing problem of online non-compliance/freeriding through online marketplaces and fulfilment houses were also thoroughly discussed, and there was recognition that the problem needs to be tackled to ensure that EPR regimes are financially sustainable.

Finally, there was a shared common expectation on the government’s upcoming and much anticipated Resources and Waste Strategy to outline a “cohesive plan” to be followed in the future.