The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has said extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes must not disrupt existing markets and policymakers should prioritise other policy instruments to increase circularity.
In its first position paper on EPR, the BIR, the global federation of recycling industries, called for recyclers to be involved in the governance bodies of EPR schemes. The federation says this will ensure an “appropriate balance of interests among the most relevant stakeholders in the value chain”.
The BIR says EPR schemes should only be set up when there is a “need” and once the “effectiveness and the intrinsic value” of a waste stream have been assessed. In the position paper, the federation warns that EPR could disrupt market competition if not designed correctly.
However, BIR says policymakers should first consider other policy instruments to increase circularity before implementing an EPR scheme.
BIR President Susie Burrage OBE said: “BIR supports policy instruments to increase circularity, but it is imperative that EPR schemes must not disrupt existing efficient markets. They should be set up only when there is a need and only once the effectiveness and the intrinsic value of a material stream have been assessed.”
BIR supports policy instruments to increase circularity, but it is imperative that EPR schemes must not disrupt existing efficient markets.
The BIR says policy instruments to increase circularity could include making design for recycling mandatory and setting legally binding recycled content targets. The federation says these measures can help to increase demand for recycled materials and “level the playing field” with extracted raw materials.
The position paper also calls for the ownership of waste to be retained by the recycling company processing it, so the business can “remain competitive” and transparent and fair tenders and to avoid monopolies.
BIR Director General Arnaud Brunet, commented: “BIR stands ready to engage with policymakers and authorities in their efforts to increase recycling rates and circularity. We believe that a well-designed EPR scheme, when necessary and combined with other policy instruments, can play a role in achieving a more circular economy.”