Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR): Notes for UPSC

Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR) is a concept under which producers are given a significant responsibility– financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of products post-consumption.

Latest context related to Extended Producer Responsibility – 

For better management of e-waste in Delhi, officials are to develop a system of incentives and disincentives to encourage the safe disposal of e-waste and ensure effective enforcement of Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR). This will include traditional waste collectors (kabadiwalas) into the formal system for better collection and segregation of e-waste. The officials also have plans for developing e-waste parks in a time-bound manner for better management.

This article will give details about the concept, which candidates appearing for the IAS Exam will find useful.

Definition of EPR

Extended Producers Responsibility is essentially the use of financial incentives to encourage manufacturers to design environmentally friendly products by making producers accountable for their product management during end-stage consumption. It differs from product stewardship as it relieves the government from the burden of managing certain products by making manufacturers internalize the cost of recycling within the product price. EPR is carried out bearing in mind that brand owners have the greatest control over product design and hence are in a better position to design their products in such a manner that it will reduce harmful effects on the environment as a whole.

Extended Producers Responsibility is done through, reuse, buyback, or recycling. The producer has also the option of delegating this responsibility to a third-party which can be paid by the producer for used-product management. This shifts the responsibility for waste management from the government to private industries, making it easy for producers or sellers to internalise waste management and ensure the safe handling of their products.

To know how climate change affects the environment, visit the linked article.

Advantages and Disadvantages of EPR

Like all policy approaches regarding the environment, Extended Product Responsibility has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages.

They are as follows:

Advantages

  • Producers can be financially incentivized to design more sustainable and environmentally friendly products when facing financial or physical stress of recycling their products. 
  • Using fewer materials and designing products to last longer can directly reduce producers’ end-of-life costs.
  • As EPR policy becomes more mainstream, it puts more pressure on countries that export E-wastes. This will discourage them from further exporting E-wastes and encourage them in building recycling facilities of their own.

Aspirants can check out the following links for their comprehensive preparation for the upcoming UPSC examination

  1. Electronic Waste – E-waste Management Rules
  2. New Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules 2016
  3. Plastic Waste Imports to India Goes Up
  4. Central Pollution Control Board – CPCB
  5. Basel Convention 1989
  6. Act Now to improve Delhi Air Quality
  7. Hazardous Substance
  8. RSTV – Big Picture – Dangers of Plastics
  9. Environment Conventions and Protocols
  10. System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR)

Disadvantages

  • It is speculated that such laws could increase the cost of electronics because producers would add recycling costs into the initial price tag.
  • There are concerns that manufacturers may use recall programs to pull second-hand electronics off the reuse market, by shredding rather than reusing or repairing goods that come in for recycling.
  • Fees are set in place to help incentivize recycling, but this may deter the use of manufacturing with better materials for different electronic products.

EPR – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

FAQ about Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR)

How effective is EPR?

EPR policies have been known to contribute to packaging waste reduction and increase recycling activities. EPR policies are having a positive impact throughout the years in many countries.

What is EPR regarding plastics?

Extended Producer Responsibility or EPR is a legislative strategy used by most industrialised nations to promote the chemical recycling of plastic waste.

For more UPSC- related preparation articles visit the links given in the table below. Candidates can find more about the general pattern of the UPSC Exams by visiting the UPSC Syllabus page.

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