NWRA and Eunomia Research & Consulting, an international sustainability consultancy, have released a study of established Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs. The study aims to help educate decision-makers on the efficacy of certain EPR policies. Challenges with recycling have resulted in increased efforts to pass legislation at both the federal and state level advocating for EPR. While well-intentioned, many of these bills fail to address the root of the problems and also overlook existing recycling programs and their achievements.
“We were glad to partner with Eunomia to identify which EPR policies are most effective at achieving expected goals,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “We hope that this report will drive smart policymaking decisions that increase demand for recycled material.” The study looked at four expected outcomes of EPR programs based on existing programs in Germany, Italy, and France, including increases in recycling rates, increases in recycled content usage, increases in design-for-recycling practices, and increases in the market value of collected packaging waste.
Sarah Edwards, Head of Eunomia Americas, said: “It is great to see NWRA providing a strong voice on EPR policy as a resource for its members and to inform the wider recycling system in the U.S. We are pleased to provide our knowledge and experience of decades of EPR in Europe to inform the conversation in North America. We hope that this conversation can lead to more thoughtful and effective policy that includes targets and design-for-recycling to create the most effective and efficient recycling system possible.”
NWRA prefers efforts focused on increasing demand for recyclable materials to allow market forces to incentivize recycling. Increased use of post-consumer content is an essential component to increased demand. In circumstances where these efforts are not sufficient to increase demand, EPR may be considered.