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Extended Producer Responsibility outside of Europe

June 21, 2022

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) for European producers is often associated exclusively with Europe or the European Union. This fact is hardly surprising, as the legislation is very well known at the EU level, where the concept is most mature. Prominent elements are the Waste Framework Directive and the product-specific Directives on Waste Packaging, Waste Batteries, or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, among others.

Despite this image, the concept of EPR has long surpassed European boundaries. Not only do non-EU countries like Norway, Turkey, Serbia, or Switzerland enforce similar legislation, but they also develop it along the lines of the progress made by EU directives.

However, the relevance of EPR does not stop there. Several countries worldwide have implemented EPR legislation, often taking the European rules and concepts as a framework or conceptual basis. EPR is found in North America (USA, Canada), as much as rules exist in Latin and South America (e.g., Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Brazil). For instance, laws and collective schemes have been operating for a considerable time in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Israel, and India.

Of course, the African continent is also relevant. For example, Nigeria is setting up a WEEE collective scheme. South Africa has just launched EPR schemes for WEEE and Packaging. Plus, a Battery law and collective schemes are already expected. Like South Africa, the United Arab Emirates very recently issued implementing regulations to the law on Integrated Waste Management.

Yet, the EPR systems' layout can vary greatly. For instance, Turkey is transitioning from a collective scheme-oriented model to a state-led Producer Responsibility model. Switzerland operates a very concise number of schemes, all monopolies to their fractions or device types. On the other hand, the South African system now launched an array of packaging schemes with responsibilities for different packaging materials. Producers can thus often not adhere to a single packaging scheme to be compliant but will be required to close contracts with multiple schemes.

If you are already selling in an international environment or are planning to expand into new markets, do not hesitate to contact your RLG Key Account for an EPR assessment of the relevant obligations. Of course, RLG can also provide in-country registration and reporting services.

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