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Christina Seidel Zeroing in on Waste: the Role of Extended Producer Responsibility in a Zero Waste Strategy.

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Presentation on theme: "Christina Seidel Zeroing in on Waste: the Role of Extended Producer Responsibility in a Zero Waste Strategy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Christina Seidel Zeroing in on Waste: the Role of Extended Producer Responsibility in a Zero Waste Strategy

2 Towards Zero Waste Need to change the perception of waste as a normal by-product of society Need to change the perception of waste as a normal by-product of society Redesign processes and systems to eliminate waste Redesign processes and systems to eliminate waste

3 Extended Producer Responsibility OECD defines EPR as an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. OECD defines EPR as an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle.

4 Related Features of EPR Policy (OECD) Shifting of responsibility upstream toward the producer and away from municipalities Shifting of responsibility upstream toward the producer and away from municipalities Only producers have the ability to redesign Only producers have the ability to redesign Provide incentives to producers to incorporate environmental considerations in the design of their products Provide incentives to producers to incorporate environmental considerations in the design of their products Cradle-to-cradle Cradle-to-cradle

5 Waste Management System Responsibility to manage consumer waste is traditionally borne by society as a whole (represented by municipality) Responsibility to manage consumer waste is traditionally borne by society as a whole (represented by municipality) Cost of waste management is not reflected in product price Cost of waste management is not reflected in product price Supported through municipal taxes Supported through municipal taxes

6 Historical Municipal Waste Source: Institute of Wastes Management, 1982

7 Current Municipal Solid Waste Source: Alberta Environment

8 Growth of Product Wastes Source: Spiegelman and Sheehan, 2005

9 Growth of Recycling Source: Spiegelman and Sheehan, 2005

10 Limitations of Municipal System Municipal waste management has been subsidizing poor product design Municipal waste management has been subsidizing poor product design Inadvertently encouraged disposable society Inadvertently encouraged disposable society Designed for collection and management of homogenous waste stream Designed for collection and management of homogenous waste stream Lacks ability to handle reverse logistics for complex products Lacks ability to handle reverse logistics for complex products Producer lacks input into efficiency and innovation Producer lacks input into efficiency and innovation

11 Potential for EPR Approach Offers dedicated systems to handle specific products through reverse distribution Offers dedicated systems to handle specific products through reverse distribution Assumption of cradle-to-cradle approach by producers offers opportunities for redesign Assumption of cradle-to-cradle approach by producers offers opportunities for redesign Encouraged to eliminate waste from cycle Encouraged to eliminate waste from cycle Design for durability and recyclability Design for durability and recyclability Elimination of toxic materials Elimination of toxic materials Product price includes complete life–cycle costs Product price includes complete life–cycle costs Sends more accurate price signal to consumer Sends more accurate price signal to consumer

12 EPR Philosophy in Design Important to always keep fundamental philosophy in mind when designing EPR programs Important to always keep fundamental philosophy in mind when designing EPR programs Danger in being too pragmatic when making design decisions Danger in being too pragmatic when making design decisions Design choices focused on efficiency or simplicity can undermine program support Design choices focused on efficiency or simplicity can undermine program support

13 Design Criteria Checklist Financially sustainable Financially sustainable Level playing field Level playing field No cross-subsidization No cross-subsidization Separation of products / materials Separation of products / materials Environmentally sound Environmentally sound DfE, 3Rs hierarchy DfE, 3Rs hierarchy Socially responsible Socially responsible Performance driven Performance driven Transparent, inclusive Transparent, inclusive

14 EPR Program Design Criteria Encourages Design for Environment Encourages Design for Environment Products / materials must carry individual costsProducts / materials must carry individual costs Reward environmental performance Reward environmental performance Avoid “basket of goods” approach Avoid “basket of goods” approach PROs practical and effective management organizations, but remove competitionPROs practical and effective management organizations, but remove competition Encourage individual system design Encourage individual system design EPR more than funding mechanism EPR more than funding mechanism

15 EPR Program Design Criteria 3Rs hierarchy 3Rs hierarchy Encourage environmentally-preferable management optionsEncourage environmentally-preferable management options Financial incentive for environmental performance Financial incentive for environmental performance In absence of definitive research, hierarchy assumed validIn absence of definitive research, hierarchy assumed valid Life-cycle avoidance technique Life-cycle avoidance technique Environmental conscience on PRO Environmental conscience on PRO

16 EPR Program Design Criteria Visible fees vs cost internalization Visible fees vs cost internalization Flow-through fees download cost onto consumer Flow-through fees download cost onto consumer No price signal to producer to DfE No price signal to producer to DfE “Only one taxpayer” “Only one taxpayer” Consumer vs taxpayer Consumer vs taxpayer Visible fees symbolize producers’ unwillingness to accept responsibility Visible fees symbolize producers’ unwillingness to accept responsibility Visible fees symptom of design failure Visible fees symptom of design failure

17 Contact sonnevera international corp. Christina Seidel Executive Director, Recycling Council of Alberta Box 23 Bluffton, AB T0C 0M0 phone: fax: sonnevera international corp. Christina Seidel Executive Director, Recycling Council of Alberta Box 23 Bluffton, AB T0C 0M0 phone: fax:


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