Resource productivity and waste

Fact Sheet: Extended Producer Responsibility


Project Title   Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) (Output area 2.3.4)


Project  Period                       1994-2006


 What is EPR?    

Extended Producer Responsibility is a concept where manufacturers and importers of products should bear a significant degree of responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products throughout the product life-cycle, including upstream impacts inherent in the selection of materials for the products, impacts from manufacturers’ production process itself, and downstream impacts from the use and disposal of the products.  Producers accept their responsibility when designing their products to minimise life-cycle environmental impacts, and when accepting legal, physical or socio-economic responsibility for environmental impacts that cannot be eliminated by design. 

 Project Objectives  

Project Objectives  The OECD project on EPR takes a focused look at ways to minimise the  municipal waste stream by reducing or ending the traditional local-government  subsidy, while transferring substantial or complete financial responsibility to  private sector enterprises for managing their products also at the post-consumer  phase. The main product of this project was the Guidance manual for  Governments that was published in 2001. The expected outputs in 2005-2006   are the “Analytical Framework for the Evaluation of Costs and Benefits of  EPR”  and the “Influence of EPR Scheme on Products Design (DfE)”. Both  outputs were originally scheduled for 2004.

Content of the Project                          

Phase 1 of EPR project reviewed in 1994-1995 legal and administrative   approaches in OECD member countries and developed initial policy options for EPR programmes: Phase 1 Report [OCDE/GD(96)48] 

Phase 2 analysed in 1996-1997 the economic efficiency and environmental effectiveness of various approaches to EPR: Phase 2: Framework Report [ENV/EPOC/PPC(97)20/REV2]

Phase 3 examined in 1998-1999 EPR approaches and issues through a series of multi-stakeholder workshops, culminating with a joint workshop in 1999, combining efforts under EPR and Waste Minimisation programmes. Synergies were identified and the workshop results served as a basis for the development  of comprehensive policy options in the form of guidance manual for governments: Joint Workshop on EPR and Waste Minimisation Policy, Part 1 


The EPR Guidance Manual for Governments was published in 2001: A Guidance Manual for Governments.


Following the completion of the EPR Guidance Manual, work on EPR has shifted the focus on practical implementation issues. To this end, a seminar on EPR Programme Assessment and Implementation was held in 2001 to provide OECD governments a forum to share information and experiences in the implementation of EPR programmes. The workshop recommended OECD to focus its future EPR activities on the costs and effectiveness of EPR: Programme Implementation and Assessment - Part 1 and 2.


The identified need for an in-depth analysis of the economic dimensions of EPR led to the organization of a workshop on the Economics of EPR in 2002: Economic Aspects of Extended Producer Responsibility.  A key recommendation from this workshop was that an Analytical Framework for Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Extended Producer Responsibility should be developed for monitoring and evaluations of EPR programmes.


The Analytical Framework for Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of EPR Programmes was one of the main outputs of the EPR project in 2005-06 (
The other major output was EPR Policies and Product Design: Economic Theory and Selected Case Studies (

 Major Achievements

Since OECD began its work on EPR in 1994, almost every member country has  implemented one or more EPR programmes. These programmes vary   considerably due to a number of factors, such as the difference in the products  or waste streams covered, instruments (instrument mixes) used and how the  responsibility is shared among the players in the product chain. However, it  seems evident that EPR will continue being part of product and waste policies in  OECD countries.


Publications and  Other Outputs

OECD (1996), Extended Producer Responsibility in the OECD Area, Phase 1 Report, Environment Monographs, No. 114, OCDE/GD(96)48, OECD, Paris.

OECD (1998), Extended and Shared Producer Responsibility, Phase 2, Framework Report, ENV/EPOC/PPC(97)20/REV2, OECD, Paris.

OECD (1998), EPR, Phase 2, Case Study on German Packaging Ordinance, ENV/EPOC/PPC(97)21/REV2, OECD, Paris.

OECD (1998), EPR, Phase 2, Case Study on the Dutch Packaging Covenant, ENV/EPOC/PPC(97)22/REV2, OECD, Paris

OECD (2000), Joint Workshop on EPR and Waste Minimisation Policy in   Support of Environmental Sustainability, Part 1, EPR,ENV/EPOC/PPC(99)11/FINAL/ PART1, OECD, Paris. 

OECD (2001), Extended Producer Responsibility: A Guidance Manual for Governments, OECD, Paris. 

OECD (2003), Proceedings of OECD Seminar of EPR: EPR Programme Implementation and Assessment, Parts 1 and 2, ENV/EPOC/WPNEP(2003)10/FINAL, OECD, Paris.

OECD (2004), Economic Aspects of Extended Producer Responsibility, OECD, Paris.

OECD (2005), Analytical Framework for Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Extended Producer Responsibility Programmes,     ENV/EPOC/WGWPR(2005)6/FINAL, OECD, Paris. 

OECD (2006), EPR Policies and Product Design: Economic Theory and  Selected Case Studies, ENV/EPOC/WGWPR(2005)9/FINAL.

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