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IIIEE researchers in virtual public Event: “History of EPR”

Washing machines

IIIEE researchers Thomas Lindhqvist and Naoko Tojo together with Reid Lifset from Yale University School of the Environment have presented their insights in relation to the development of EPR over the past decades.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) has been increasingly discussed as a concept to solve the current waste problems for specific products. Thomas Lindhqvist first described it in 1990 as “an environmental protection strategy to reach an environmental objective of a decreased total environmental impact of a product, by making the manufacturer of the product responsible for the entire life-cycle of the product and especially for the take-back, recycling, and final disposal”.

Proponents of EPR argue that by assigning the organizational responsibility for waste management to a producer, EPR could reduce the financial burden of municipalities and support the internalization of commonly externalized costs associated with waste. As such, EPR might also constitute a transformative framework for a shared responsibility for waste handling between producers and consumers, as the latter might contribute to a sustainable waste management through increased purchasing costs.

The purpose of this public seminar was to take a look back to better understand the genesis of the EPR concept and its implementation. The session was titled “Promoting Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in international law for a sustainability transformation towards a circular economy” and was arranged by the International Academy Transformation for Environment and Sustainability (TES Academy) organised by the German Environmental Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA).  The sessionwas virtual on 16th of January 2024.

More about the TES series: Extended Producer Responsibility in international law

The background concept note for the EPR discussion can be accessed here.