Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and Waste Pickers
Policy makers and civil society are trying to solve this problem through something called Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR. EPR holds companies more responsible for the impacts of what they produce by requiring them to finance, and often also manage, the recycling, reuse, or disposal of their products and packaging.
EPR has the potential to benefit the environment and to generate decent work in waste management. But for the world’s 22 million informal waste workers, EPR can be harmful. Waste pickers manage 30-80% of the waste in many cities, but EPR is sometimes designed in ways that create barriers to the participation and recognition of waste pickers in the system.
EPR policies and practices are growing exponentially around the world, presenting both opportunities and threats to waste picker livelihoods.
Since 2018, the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (IAWP) as taken a deep look into EPR policies and voluntary practices around the world, concluding the EPR is largely threatening rather than supporting waste picker livelihoods. Our work has included the establishment of a work group which developed detailed case studies and briefs on the opportunities and risks that EPR poses to waste pickers, as well as global and local training for hundreds of waste pickers across all of the continents where the IAWP is active. This resulted in our official position on EPR, which we are using to influence EPR at local levels, as well as in global processes like the UN Plastics Treaty.
See EPR website for all the case studies.
- Ecuador’s Deposit Return System for Pet Plastic Bottles
- Case study: Packaging EPR in Uruguay
- Case study: Oregon’s Bottle Bill: Opportunities and Challenges for Inclusive Waste Management
- Case study: Reverse Logistics for Packaging – Brazil’s EPR Model
- Case study: Exploring Opportunities for Waste Pickers in EPR: SWaCH Cooperative’s System for Multi-Layered Packaging
- Oregon’s Bottle Bill Webinar. EPR Series
Webinar about Oregon's Bottle Bill: Opportunities and Challenges for Inclusive Waste Management. With the participation of Latrice Holloway, Barbie Weber, Rosalynn Greene, Taylor Cass Talbott and Chicago Crosby.
- The Brazilian Model of Reverse Logistics. EPR Series
The first in a series of case studies examining extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems in various locations around the world.
- SWaCH’s Cooperative System for Multi-Layered Packaging. EPR Series
This webinar, recorded on September 30th, 2021, discussed the second in a series of case studies examining extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems in various locations around the world and explored opportunities and challenges for waste pickers in EPR, with SWaCH’s Cooperative System for Multi-Layered Packaging. Panelists: Alok Gogate (Head-Operations, SWaCH Cooperative) Supriya Bhadakwad (Waste picker … Continue reading "SWaCH’s Cooperative System for Multi-Layered Packaging. EPR Series"
- The Law of Packaging with Social Inclusion in Argentina by FACCYR. EPR Series
Produced by the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers (Globalrec) and WIEGO, this series seeks to understand how the increasing adoption of EPR policies and systems around the world can threaten or enhance the livelihoods of informal waste pickers who have traditionally been key actors in the recycling and reuse of materials.