Extended producer responsibility, a practice and a policy approach in which producers take responsibility for the management of the disposal of products they produce once those products are designated as no longer useful by consumers. Responsibility for disposal may be fiscal, physical, or a combination of the two.
Motivations for extended producer responsibility practices include a mixture of economic, environmental, and social factors. Extended producer responsibility shifts the economic burden of the cost of disposal from the government to the producer of the product. Within an environmental context, products must be designed for recyclability, and extended producer responsibility encourages design for recycling while discouraging the use of toxic components in the product. Finally, extended producer responsibility meets increasing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products that can easily be recycled or are manufactured using recycled content. Extended producer responsibility is a product-focused strategy that encourages environmentally friendly design and disposal of products through the transfer of this responsibility to product producers.
EPR has been implemented in many forms, which may be classified into three major approaches:
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. An EPR policy is characterised by:
1. The shifting of responsibility (physically and/or economically; fully or partially) upstream toward the producer and away from municipalities.
2. The provision of incentives to producers to take into account environmental considerations when designing their products.
While other policy instruments tend to target a single point in the chain, EPR seeks to integrate signals related to the environmental characteristics of products and production processes throughout the product chain.
We can still find people questioning the severity of environmental threats. However, for the most part, there is today consensus about the need for addressing the environmental problem more vigorously. Preventive approaches to solving environmental problems have been found as environmentally and economically beneficial for several decades now. EPR has evolved as a preventive approach to tackle harmful plastic waste. It is an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of the product’s life cycle, including its final disposal. EPR has been implemented in various countries and has successfully reduced the generation of waste and their dependence upon virgin resources, for e.g. in Europe, while no comprehensive collection and treatment infrastructure existed before the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive), it has surpassed its collection targets. India following the path of these countries has implemented EPR for e-waste and plastic. Even though the Rules framed under this policy is fairly good but the onus is now on the producers to take the required initiative to address this growing problem. EPR policy can be successfully implemented in India only if the governmental agencies, like Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), and the manufacturers join hands to manage the goods from its cradle till its end-of-life.