Policy in practice
Ensuring that all sources of funding for waste management activities are fully leveraged could reduce the pressure on government budgets and improve the business case for private investment. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes have a clear role to play here. By making plastic and product manufacturers at least partially responsible for the cost of managing their products at the end of life, EPR can incentivise better design practices, while also creating an additional source of funding for waste management activities.
The producer fees generated by these schemes extend into the billions of dollars, and already help to finance waste management operations in many OECD countries. For example, in France, EUR 630 million of collected “eco-contributions” were allocated to local authorities to cover the cost of waste management in 2012.
Fee modulation, based on the proportion of environmental impact of a product, such as presence of toxic materials, may also be used to incentivise design for environment. The amended EU Waste Framework directive (2018) states that in the case of collective fulfilment of extended producer responsibility, modulated fees shall be introduced where possible on account of several criteria including presence of hazardous material.