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Setting the stage for a successful circular economy: EPR and policy developments in Asia

Circularity Concepts: Exploring key drivers of the plastic circular economy
 

The first in a series of five webinars focused on the key pathways to transform the plastic value chain, ‘Setting the Stage for a Successful Circular Economy’ looks at the role of policy in supporting the development of sustainable recycling systems.

 

Host Anne Johnson, Principal and VP at Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), takes an in-depth look at Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR); the state of play, the challenges of implementation in South and Southeast Asia, as well as its potential to grow the plastics circular economy in the region and globally.

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Anne Johnson
Principal and VP, Resource Recycling Systems

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Policy & Plastics and the Circular Economy

There are several factors that need to be in place to ensure a sustainable recycling system. This session looks at the important role policy plays in developing economically sustainable recycling systems through dedicated funding for recycling infrastructure, consumer education and the provision of legally-enforceable standards and targets.

The session will delve into the range of policies that support the circular economy and their potential for impact. From disincentives for poor materials management, to recycled content mandates and funding mechanisms to develop infrastructure, we explore how the right policy environment can reduce risk and stimulate innovation and investment.

Extended Producer Responsibility

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) holds producers – not just brands, but importers and manufacturers – responsible for the end-of-life management of their products or packaging. Anne takes us through how an EPR policy roadmap is developed, the role of the Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) in implementing the program plan and the importance of government and other systems in providing legal oversight and enforcement of obligations.

We look at the success of voluntary EPR in relation to mandatory EPR programs around the world and the challenges specific to Asia, including inconsistent collection infrastructure, lack of consumer awareness and segregation at source, as well as the fragmentation and lack of transparency across the waste management and recycling value chains.

Implications of EPR Information

Analysis of existing policies has shown that EPR can grow recycling rates, with limited impact on the cost of goods to consumers. Further, implementation of EPR policies has been shown to provide economic incentive to improve packaging design.

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How EPR is growing across Asia

There is a broad spectrum of activity taking place across South and Southeast  Asia in relation to EPR policy and implementation roadmaps.

 

Anne describes the status of EPR policy and legislation in India and select countries in SEA, identifying the specific challenges to implementation faced in each country.

 

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