But collection, sorting, and recycling of packaging typically costs more to do than the money it makes. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is the only proven and likely way to provide funding that is dedicated, ongoing, and sufficient. Through EPR schemes, companies putting packaging on the market are required to pay for its collection, sorting, and recycling after use.
For the first time, more than 150 leading businesses and other organisations from across the packaging value chain, publicly recognise that without EPR, packaging collection and recycling is unlikely to be meaningfully scaled and tens of millions of tonnes of packaging will continue to end up in the environment every year.
including: Beiersdorf, Borealis, Berry Global, Danone, Diageo, DS Smith, Ferrero, FrieslandCampina, H&M, Henkel, Inditex, Indorama Ventures, L'Oréal, Mars, Mondi, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Pick n Pay, Reckitt, Schwarz Group, Tetra Pak, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever, Veolia, and Walmart.
To solve the packaging waste and pollution crisis, a comprehensive circular economy approach is required. We must: eliminate the packaging we don’t need; innovate to ensure all the packaging we do need is reusable, recyclable, or compostable; and circulate all the packaging we use, keeping it in the economy and out of the environment. This circular economy approach would lead to significant economic, environmental, and social benefits¹ and contribute to addressing major global challenges, such as plastic pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss.
Circulation of packaging that cannot be eliminated or reused involves collection, sorting and recycling.² However, this process comes at a net cost for practically all packaging formats in most geographies.³ Over time, the economics can be improved significantly through better design, technological advancements, and economies of scale. However, for many years to come, mechanisms that ensure dedicated, ongoing, and sufficient funding will be necessary to cover that net cost. Without such funding mechanisms, it is unlikely that packaging collection and recycling will scale to the extent required, and tens of millions of tonnes of packaging will continue to end up in the environment every year.
While, in theory, there could be many ways to provide this funding, in practice, the only proven and likely pathway to ensure dedicated, ongoing, and sufficient funding at scale is through mandatory, fee-based EPR schemes, in which all industry players introducing packaging to the market provide funding dedicated to collecting and processing their packaging after its use. The alternatives – relying on funding from public budgets or from voluntary contributions – are unlikely to scale to the extent required and fall short of being dedicated, ongoing, and sufficient.
Furthermore, EPR schemes are more than a funding mechanism, and can bring many additional benefits, such as enhancing the efficiency and transparency of the system, and incentivising upstream packaging solutions. The design and implementation of EPR schemes are crucial for their effectiveness. No existing EPR scheme is perfect and many elements need to be taken into account during the design and implementation of EPR schemes, including the local context and broader circular economy policy agenda. Therefore, we are committed to constructively working with other stakeholders to make EPR work in different geographies around the world, because we recognise it is a necessary part of the solution to packaging waste and pollution.
Finally, we recognise that, while EPR is a necessary and vital part of the solution to packaging waste and pollution, it is by itself insufficient and needs to be complemented by a wider set of policies, and voluntary industry action and innovation towards a circular economy for packaging.
With this statement, we publicly express our support for the implementation of EPR schemes for packaging and commit to:
Ensure our entire organisation is aligned on, and our actions are inline with, this statement
Be constructive in our engagement with governments and other stakeholders: advocating for the establishment of well-designed EPR policies and being supportive in working out how to implement and continuously improve EPR schemes in the local context
Engage with our peers and the relevant associations and collaborations we are part of to work towards aligning their positions and actions accordingly.
EPR requires all industry players who introduce packaging to the market to provide funding dedicated to collecting and processing their packaging after its use. Without EPR, it’s unlikely that packaging collection and recycling will scale to the extent needed, and tens of millions of tonnes of packaging will continue to end up in the environment every year.
Our Statement and Position Paper, Extended Producer Responsibility - a necessary part of the solution to packaging waste and pollution, sets out why EPR is needed to make the economics work for effective sorting, collection and recycling of packaging materials.