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A circular economy for packaging: Extended Producer Responsibility
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Extended Producer Responsibility
Plastic packaging

Extended Producer Responsibility is a necessary part of the solution to packaging waste and pollution

Extended Producer
Responsibility

a necessary part of the solution
to packaging waste and pollution

To stop packaging pollution we need a circular economy where we eliminate what we don't need, innovate towards new packaging, products and business models, and circulate all the packaging we do use, keeping it in the economy and out of the environment.

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. 

Read StatementDownload Statement and Position Paper
Endorsed by more than 100 leading businesses

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.

Endorsed by

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Statement

As a group of businesses and stakeholders that are drawn from across the packaging value chain, we are calling for the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes for packaging. We recognise that EPR is a necessary part of the solution to create the circular economy for packaging we are aiming for. EPR schemes, through which all industry players that introduce packaging to the market provide funding dedicated to its collecting and processing after use, are the only proven and likely pathways to provide the required funding. Without such policies, 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.

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: 

1

Ensure our entire organisation is aligned on, and our actions are inline with, this statement

2

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

3

Engage with our peers and the relevant associations and collaborations we are part of to work towards aligning their positions and actions accordingly.

Endorsed by

ACTIAM, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Portfolio Advisory Board, AGMPM, Agrecovery Foundation, Albea, Algramo, ALPLA Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co KG, APK AG, APLM - Portuguese Marine Litter Association, APWC, Aquapak, Polymers, Archemics, As You Sow, Association of Plastic Recyclers, BASF, Beiersdorf AG, BEL Group, BELL Holding, Berry Global, BioPak, Bioproducts, Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC), University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Boomera Brasil Ltda, Borealis AG, Boston Common Asset Management, Californians Against Waste, Canadian, Stewardship Services Alliance, CAPTURE, CCL Label, Cedo, Circularity Capital, Clif Bar & Company, Closed Loop Partners, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Congregation of St. Joseph, Danone, Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise, Delphis Eco Ltd, Diageo, Digimarc, Dragon Rouge, DS Smith, Dynapack Asia, Earthwise Group Ltd, Eastman, Eco MYO Cosmetic Cases Inc., ECOCE A C, Ecoiberia SA, ECOPIXEL / WET Srl, Ecopod Kiosk, ECOR Global, ELISAVA, Envases Universales, Enviro Pride, EPRO, Erno Laszlo, ESG Portfolio Management GmbH, European Investment Bank (EIB), Ferrero, FrieslandCampina, Futamura, Gemini Corporation N.V., GIZ GmbH, Greiner AG, H&M Group, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Hera Group, INCOM Recycle Co., Ltd., Independent/ UCDavis Industrial Ecology Program, Indian Plastics Institute, INDITEX, Indorama Ventures PCL, INDUSTRIA MEXICANA DE RECICLAJE S.A. DE C.V, Iönica, James Cropper PLC, John Swire & Sons (HK) Ltd., Kiduara BV, Koepala Packaging, L'Occitane-En-Provence, L'OREAL, Landbell Group, Life Cycle Initiative, Life Without Plastic, LOLIWARE Inc., Loop Industries, Lorax EPI, Luhai Pro-environment Inc., Mars Inc, Materiom, Mercy Investment Services, Inc., Mirova Natural Capital, Mondi, Mr. Green Africa, Myplas, Nestlé SA, Netherlands Institute for Sustainable Packaging, Notpla, NOVAPET, Nutramara, Oak Foundation, Oceanium, PepsiCo, Pick n Pay, Plant Chicago, Plastic Bank, Plastic Collective, Plastic Energy, PLASTIC ODYSSEY, Plastics Recyclers Europe, Pöppelmann, Preserve, PREVENT Waste Alliance, Quantis, Reckitt, RecyclePoints, Recyclers Association of Nigeria, RePack, Reusable Packaging Association, Rubicon, SAP SE, Schwarz Group, Searious Business, Shanghai Rendu Ocean NPO Development Center, Silafrica Plastics & Packaging Intl Ltd, Sostenibilidad 3Rs Inc., South Pole, SOVENA, Splosh Ltd, St. Afvalfonds Verpakkingen (Packaging Waste Fund Foundation), SUST4IN, SWANIA, Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, SYSTEMIQ, TC Transcontinental, Termoencogibles S.A. de C.V. (TERNOVA GROUP), TerraCycle, Tetra Pak, The Better Packaging Co, The Coca-Cola Company, The Green Earth, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Recycling Partnership, TIPA® Compostable Packaging, TOMRA, Umincorp, Unilever, University of São Paulo , UPM Raflatac, Veolia, Walmart, Waste Ventures India Private Limited, Waste4Change, Wealth of Flows Consulting Ltd, Werner & Mertz GmbH, WWF, Yunus Environment Hub, Π3=Plastic Pollution Prevention
¹ Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Perspective on ‘Breaking the Plastic Wave’ study link, 2020 ² Recycling includes material recycling, as well as organic recycling as defined in ISO 18601:2013 to ISO 18606:2013 on ‘Packaging and the Environment’ ³ Note that where recycling is not yet possible, also collection and safe disposal comes at a net cost Note: The undertaking in the commitment to "ensure our entire organisation is aligned on this statement" is a statement of the endorsers' intention to engage in good faith efforts.
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Download the Statement and Position Paper

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.