BIR Publishes First Position Paper on EPR

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes must not disrupt existing efficient markets.

The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), the global federation of recycling industries, issued its first position paper on extended producer responsibility (EPR), calling for policymakers to ensure that EPR schemes are designed in such a way that they do not disrupt existing efficient markets.

BIR stressed that, when and where EPR schemes are considered an absolute necessity, recyclers must be involved in the governance bodies of such schemes to ensure an appropriate balance of interests among the most relevant stakeholders in the value chain.

“BIR supports policy instruments to increase circularity, but it is imperative that EPR schemes must not disrupt existing efficient markets,” said BIR President Susie Burrage OBE. “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 said that policymakers should first consider other policy instruments to increase circularity, such as making design for recycling mandatory and setting legally-binding recycled content targets. These measures can help to increase demand for recycled materials and level the playing field with extracted raw materials.

“BIR stands ready to engage with policymakers and authorities in their efforts to increase recycling rates and circularity,” adds BIR Director General Arnaud Brunet. “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.”

Source: BIR (Brussels, November 20, 2023)