Extended Producer Responsibility Laws for Packaging Around The World
Thu Apr 04 2024

The year 2024 has seen monumental regulatory shifts in the global packaging industry—one area in particular relates to that of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).  

What is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)? 

EPR refers to a regulatory approach in which the producers of packaging (and other products) in a defined territory are made responsible for managing the waste and externalities associated with their products—shifting the burden of packaging waste management from consumers and municipalities to the producers themselves. A large percentage of EPR legislation includes requirements for identified producers to join a producer responsibility organization (PRO)—often an industry-led nonprofit focused on working collectively to meet targets, collect and allocate fees, and more. 

The concept of EPR is nothing new; the system has been explored and trialed since the early 1990s, with the first system launching in Germany in 1991. Following Germany, the European Union enacted the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) in 1994, which has been altered and revised numerous times and is currently in another negotiation stage. The concept has only started to make its way to the United States in the last few years, with a number of states enacting laws including Maine, California, Oregon, Maryland, Colorado, and Connecticut. 

To date, a number of nations around the world have launched their own EPR systems, and we will explore these systems in more detail in the sections to follow. The map below is a high-level overview of the nations with an active EPR system for managing packaging waste and externalities. As indicated by the map, 61 countries (~29% of the world) currently have some form of EPR system in place in relation to packaging life-cycle management—with EPR reaching all continents but Antartica.

Included in this article are the nations we have identified as having a mandatory Extended Producer for Responsibility system for managing packaging waste and externalities. It is important to note that this is a work in progress as new developments in the EPR space are emerging daily. We are also monitoring the following nations and their developing EPR programs: Argentina, Ghana, Tunisia, Thailand, Malaysia, Israel, and more. Stay tuned for updates and additions to this blog as more information about these systems come to light. 


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EPR Programs in North America

The North American Continent has its fair share of EPR programs—in the countries of Canada, the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica. 

EPR in The United States 

In the United States, EPR laws and programs currently operate at a state-by-state basis, with no federal program in existence. Many of the programs below include the establishment of a PRO, which is explained above. 

In the fall of 2023, we wrote a research article covering the state of EPR laws in the US—finding 5 states with active laws:

  • Maine – S2145 (Passed July 2021)

  • Oregon – SB 582 (Passed August 2021)

  • Colorado – HB 22-1355 (Passed June 2022)

  • CaliforniaSB 54 (Passed June 2022)

  • Maryland – SB 0222 (Passed May 2023)

These states are colored in forest green on the map. States that have introduced or proposed EPR legislation, but have not yet passed them, are colored in light green on the map and include the following: 

  • HawaiiHB 1326 & SB 1458 (Introduced January 2023)

  • IllinoisHB 2874 (Introduced February 2023)

  • MassachusettsH.4263 (Introduced January 2024 – new version from H.799)

  • New JerseyS426 (Introduced January 2022)

  • New YorkSB S1064 (Introduced January 2023)

  • North CarolinaHB 279 (Introduced March 2023)

  • Rhode IslandSB 200 (Introduced February 2023)

  • TennesseeHB 0550 (Introduced January 2023)

  • Washington HB 1131(Introduced February 2023)

As the year progresses, it will be interesting to track which of the introduced programs evolve into an active EPR program and if other states decide to introduce their own approaches to EPR—we will do our best to update this article / index to represent the most up-to-date information. 

EPR in Canada 

Similar to the US approach, the establishment of EPR programs are managed by individual provinces, not federally. 

The provinces in Canada to have introduced EPR include the following: 

  • AlbertaExtended Producer Responsibility Regulation: Alberta’s regulatory framework for packaging and paper products was signed into law in November of 2022. Similar to US EPR programs, the Alberta EPR plan includes PROs. 

  • British ColumbiaRecycleBC: British Columia’s regulatory framework for packaging and paper products dates back to May of 2014, making it one of the oldest “full” EPR programs in the North American continent. The scheme is very successful, collecting over 200,000 tons of packaging and paper waste from BC residents annually. 

  • ManitobaMulti-Material Stewardship Manitoba (MSSM): Manitoba’s EPR framework was introduced in 2008, but only makes packaging producers accountable for funding 80% of MSW collection associated with their products. According to Circular Materials.CA, Manitoba is in the process of turning the MSSM program into a full EPR program. 

  • New BrunswickClean Environment Act (Designed Materials Regulation): New Brunswick launched the Clean Environment Act in 2008, and an amendment (New Brunswick Stewardship Plan for Packaging and Paper) was approved in May of 2023. The identified sole PRO of New Brunswick's EPR program is Circular Materials. 

  • Nova ScotiaExtended Producer Responsibility for Packaging, Paper Products and Packaging-Like Products Regulations: Nova Scotia launched their EPR system in August of 2023, with full EPR implementation scheduled for December 1, 2025. The timeline also included a registration deadline of January 1, 2024 for producers to register with Divert NS—a PRO similar to that of Circular Materials’ mentioned above. 

  • OntarioResource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016: Ontario’s EPR program came into effect in 2016 and has regulations for packaging and paper products that are organized under “Blue Box” materials. Similar to the New Brunswick EPR program, Circular Materials serves as the sole PRO for Ontario. The transition to the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 began in summer of 2023 and is on track to be fully implemented by the year 2026. 

  • QuébecÉco Entreprises Québec (EEQ): Québec launched their EPR program in 2022. The program focuses on boosting curbside recycling and incentivizing eco-design, traceability, and sustainable innovation. 

  • SaskatchewanMulti-Material Stewardship Western (MMSW): Saskatchewan’s EPR program went live in 2016, with provisions similar to that of Manitoba in which producers have to fund and manage 75% of paper and packaging recycling programs in the province. The MMSW has partnered with Circular Materials to bring Saskatchewan’s EPR program to fruition. 

  • YukonExtended Producer Responsibility Regulation: Canada’s freshest EPR program, Yukon’s EPR program came into effect January 25th of this year and has a full implementation timeline of October 1, 2025. Similar to other provinces, Yukon’s EPR system includes the use of PROs as a vessel for carrying out the regulation’s requirements. 

EPR in the Dominican Republic 

The Dominican Republic is utilizing EPR to help reduce marine litter, establishing General Law 255-20 on Comprehensive Management and Co-processing of Solid Waste in October of 2020. The legislation targets the producers of the following: 

  • Foam 

  • Sleeves 

  • Plastic bottles 

General Law 255-20 is also seen as a critical lever in the Dominican Republic’s transition from a linear economy to a circular economy. Similar to systems mentioned above, General Law 255-20 is overseen by a PRO, referred to as the Program for Comprehensive Waste Management (PROGIRS). 

The law also includes regulations on microplastics, single-use plastic products, and more. 

EPR in Costa Rica

The country of Costa Rica has also taken strides in implementing EPR systems with the passing of the Law for Comprehensive Waste Management in 2010. The law, which lays out Costa Rica’s approach to waste management, is built on principles of shared responsibility, EPR, and citizen education and participation. 

Costa Rica’s approach to waste management and EPR covers “waste producers” which can encapsulate packaging producers. The program is overseen by the Ministry of Health and calls for special management of packaging and all types of MSW. If you count Costa Rica’s law as a full EPR program and not one that aligns more with shared producer responsibility (like that of Mexico), the law would be the continent's first EPR program including packaging waste.

Now that we have covered EPR laws in North America, let’s head south to the South American continent. 

EPR Programs in South America

The South American continent has a number of nations with EPR programs including Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, and Chile. 

EPR in Colombia 

The nation of Colombia launched their EPR scheme for packaging in 2018 with Resolution 14047 of July 26, 2018, which calls for producers to create, manage, and report on an Environmental Management Plan for Packaging Waste

The program allows producers to work collectively in a PRO or individual producers to create and carry out their own management plans. The law calls for the collection and processing of different percentages of their packaging waste, with targets increasingly gradually over time

EPR in Venezuela 

In January of 2021, Venezuela’s EPR program, Resolution No.0191, came into effect, covering packaging producers of all types. The law calls for identified packaging producers to register with the Ministry of Ecosocialism (MINEC) and submit plans for packaging waste management, including fees for producers to fund activities. 

Similar to neighboring Colombia’s system, Venezuela allows packaging producers to create, manage, and carry out packaging waste management plans either individually or in a collective PRO. 

EPR in Chile 

The nation of Chile launched their EPR program in 2016 with Framework for Waste Management, Extended Producer Responsibility and Promotion of Recycling, Law 20.920. A producer under Chile’s Law 20.920 has a number of obligations, including organizing and managing packaging waste collection and reaching recovery targets of different packaging waste. 

 Like Colombia and Venezuela’s systems, Chilean producers are granted the ability to tackle EPR requirements individually or in a collective PRO. An article by Lorax EPI highlights that Chile is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact—committing to voluntary targets with a 2025 timeline like eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging and increasing plastic reuse, recycling, and composting rates to 33%. 

EPR in Brazil 

The Brazilian government has a unique approach to EPR, as they use reverse logistics certificates to ensure waste management. In April of 2023, Brazil passed Decree No. 11,413 which serves as a reverse logistics program that calls for producers to establish reverse logistics systems for their packaging systems.

The decree includes three certificates to prove compliance, including the following: 

  • CCRLR (Reverse Logistics Certificate): for firms that meet targets and demonstrate compliance with requirements related to reverse logistics. 

  • CERE (Environmental Compensation Certificate): for firms that go above and beyond reverse logistics targets, allowing these firms to trade or sell certificates to companies not reaching goals—similar to carbon markets. 

  • Certificate of Credit for Future Mass: for firms that reach targets and wish to “bank” excess recycling capacity for future use, allowing for flexibility and easing pains in adapting to shifting market conditions. 

In an innovative approach, Brazil manages the compliance of packaging producers through certificates. The system also allows producers to tackle EPR requirements individually or collectively in a PRO. 

Now that we have explored EPR in both North and South America, let's explore EPR systems on the African continent. 

EPR Programs in Africa

The continent of Africa currently has 2 active EPR programs—in Kenya and South Africa. However, a number of countries are exploring EPR frameworks, including Ghana, Tunisia, Namibia, and more.

EPR in Kenya

Kenya’s approach to EPR is outlined in Section 13 of the Sustainable Waste Management Act No. 31 which went into effect in 2022. The program is managed by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and allows producers to meet requirements individually or collectively in PRO systems. For producers who want to work in a PRO, there are two options—KEPRO and KAM.

Producers have a number of responsibilities under Kenya’s EPR scheme, including an inventory of all packaging planned or sold into the Kenyan market and mechanisms for traceability and accountability throughout a packaging system’s lifecycle.

EPR in South Africa 

The nation of South Africa launched its EPR program through publishing the Section 18 Regulations to the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (NEMWA) in November of 2020. 

The program was amended in March 2021 including new definitions, recycling and recycled content targets, and roles and responsibilities for PROs. Similar to Kenya’s EPR system, producers can align with requirements either individually or through involvement in a PRO. 

EPR Programs in Europe

As the map indicates, EPR programs are widespread in Europe, with only a number of countries without an EPR system. 

As mentioned earlier, Germany is the birthplace of EPR with the passing of the German Packaging Ordinance of 1991. The European Union (EU), consisting of 27 nations, launched the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) three years later in 1994. 

The countries in light green are in the EU, and therefore, fall under the requirements for the PPWD. To read more on the Directive and its evolution, check out our research article on the topic. 

Nations that fall under the PPWD (indicated in light green) include EU member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

Non-EU Countries’ EPR Programs

Countries that are not in the European Union have also developed their own approaches to EPR, many of which align with the European Union’s Directive. These countries are marked in dark green on the map, including the United Kingdom, Iceland, Serbia, Belarus, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Norway, Switzerland, and Ukraine. 

EPR in the United Kingdom 

The United Kingdom launched their EPR for packaging program with the UK Packaging Regulations in February of 2023. The law has different requirements and fees for small and large organizations and includes an array of reporting mandates related to packaging data. 

The regulators for the UK Packaging Regulations are split between different facilities including: 

  • Environment Agency (England)

  • Natural Resources Wales (Wales)

  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency (Northern Ireland) 

  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Scotland)

  • Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

  • Office for Product Safety and Standards 

EPR in Iceland

Iceland is not in the EU, but they are closely tied to EU legislation due to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA Agreement), which they entered into in 1994. Due to this agreement, Iceland is bound to the EU’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and its targets and requirements. 

Compliance with the EU’s Directive is managed through the Icelandic Recycling Fund, which also requires additional reporting when products and packaging enter the Icelandic market—working closely with the Customs Authority.

EPR in Serbia 

The Government of Serbia introduced its approach to EPR in 2009 with the launching of the Serbian Packaging Regulations (Law on Packaging and Packaging Waste). The regulations cover household and transport packaging and make producers responsible for lifecycle management of their packaging. 

The system is similar to others covered in this article in which producers pay fees in order to fund recycling and reuse programs for packaging across the nation.

EPR in Belarus

EPR for packaging in Belarus dates back to 2012 with The 2012 Decree of the President No. 313 "On selected issues related to management of waste consumption." The Decree created recovery and recycling targets for MSW and packaging and covers producers (and importers) of packaging materials of all types. 

The Decree also calls for retail shops to provide spaces to collect recyclables and packaging and includes collection targets that increase gradually over time.

EPR in North Macedonia  

North Macedonia launched their EPR system in 2009 with the Law on Management of Packaging and Packaging Waste. The 2009 law calls for producers of packaging of all materials types to meet national targets to reduce packaging waste, ensure collection and sorting of packaging materials for recycling, and more. 

Similar to other schemes across the world, North Macedonia's system calls for producers to tackle responsibilities either individually or in “collective waste management schemes”—essentially a PRO. Additionally, the law has different requirements for larger corporations who generate more packaging waste, like that of the United Kingdom.

EPR in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EPR system for packaging is laid out in the 2012 Ordinance on Packaging and Packaging Waste Management. The ordinance calls for producers and importers in Bosnia and Herzegovina to reduce total amounts of packaging waste and implement schemes to reuse, recycle, and recover packaging. 

The legislation is extensive and covers primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging systems and includes an “operator” which serves as the PRO that carries out the EPR program. The licensed operator for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EPR program is Ekopak

EPR in Norway

Similar to Iceland, Norway is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and follows the requirements of the EU’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive that came into effect in 1994. According to the Norwegian Environment Agency, Norway has several PROs that carry out the industry’s alignment with the EU’s Directive. 

Norway also mandates that all packaging producers that produce or import over 1,000 kg (2,204 lbs) are required to join a PRO. Norway aligns with the requirements of the PPWD due to the EEA, but also includes its own provisions for firms that operate in the nation. 

EPR in Ukraine 

Ukraine’s EPR system was launched in July of 2023 with the Law on Waste Management No. 2320-IX. The section of the 2023 law that applies to packaging waste and EPR is Article 10. Beyond packaging, this article establishes EPR schemes for electronic and electrical waste, batteries, decommissioned vehicles, lubricants and oils, textiles, and more. 

Similar to other EPR schemes covered above, Ukraine allows for producers to achieve compliance with the law either individually or in a collective PRO. It is important to note that Ukraine is an EU candidate country, applying to join the EU in early 2022.

EPR in Switzerland

The nation of Switzerland does not have an in-depth framework for EPR like other non-EU nations mentioned, but they do have three EPR obligations that are enforced by the government. The requirements are for packaging, batteries, and electronic waste. 

The three obligations include the following:

  • Producers paying fees to finance waste disposal and management of products and packaging 

  • Producers have responsibility of taking back products and packaging at the end of their lifecycle 

  • Producers have responsibility for educating consumers and the industry on available measures for disposal and reuse system

Now that we have covered the state of EPR on the European continent, let’s head east to Asia. 

EPR Programs in Asia

The continent of Asia has a number of EPR schemes, including in Russia, China, Taiwan, Singapore, India, South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. 

EPR in Russia

The concept of EPR was introduced in Russia in 2021 with Governmental Resolution No. 3721-r of 31 December 2020, which covers 10 types of packaging. 

Russia’s EPR program requires reporting to the Russian Federal Service of Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor), including information on products and packaging released on the market and alignment with recycling standards. The program also includes environmental fees which are based on the amount of packaging and other goods placed on the market for “household” use the year prior.

EPR in China

China launched their EPR packaging framework with the 2020 law titled Law of the People’s Republic of China on Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste. Article 17, that falls under SECTION 1: BASIC PROVISIONS, outlines the requirements for packaging that ensure product packaging materials are easily recyclable or biodegradable and comply with mandatory recycling in accordance with state regulations. 

It is important to note that a Lorax EPI article from 2021 highlights that China’s EPR policies are still under development, with a lack of mandatory collection targets and fee structures / schedules. As the People’s Republic of China is the world's largest population and second largest economy, it will be interesting to see how the law continues to develop in the next few years.

EPR in Taiwan

Taiwan’s EPR system for packaging dates back to 1998 with the Waste Disposal Act (WDA). The EPR scheme is laid out in Article 10-1 of the WDA and turns the financial responsibility for recycling to manufacturers and importers of various containers and materials. 

The nation established a 4-in-1 Recycling Program that was funded by identified producers and importers paying fees to the Environmental Protection Administration of Taiwan (EPAT). Regulated packaging waste under the WDA includes: metal containers, aluminum containers, glass containers, paper containers, waste paper tableware, PET, PVC, PE, PP, Polystyrene foam, PS non-foam, bioplastics, other plastics, pesticide containers, and more. Identified producers in Taiwan must also establish collection points for consumers in various locations including retail settings and markets. 

EPR in Singapore

Singapore launched their EPR scheme in Fall of 2019 with the Resource Sustainability Act 2019. The Act is meant to shift the burden of management and collection of packaging waste on producers, encouraging reuse and recycling schemes and more. 

Apart from packaging, the program also covers electronic waste and food waste. The program is overseen by the National Environment Agency and includes producer responsibility schemes like other EPR laws covered in this piece.

EPR in India 

India’s EPR program, that only regulates plastic packaging, came into effect in 2016 and is called the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. The Rules were amended in 2018 and 2021; in 2022, an EPR framework was introduced. 

India’s plastic packaging EPR program organizes plastic into four categories—rigid plastic packaging, flexible plastic packaging, multi-layered packaging, and plastic sheets. Oversight and enforcement of the EPR program is in the hands of two organizations—the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB). 

EPR in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s EPR system came into effect under the Waste Management Law that is part of the 2021 “Strategic Master Plan” to boost the sustainable management of waste and the kingdom's transition to a circular economy. 

Similar to India’s system, Saudi Arabia’s current EPR program is focused on plastic packaging, with plastic bags and straws in particular. Another part of the Master Plan is to manage marine litter in the Red Sea and along the coast. 

EPR in Turkey

Turkey’s EPR program is part of the 2018 Regulation on Packaging Waste Control, focusing on recycling targets and plastic bag charges. The government of Turkey also includes “eco-design” requirements including: 

  • Avoiding excess volume and weight in packaging design 

  • Designing for recoverability and recyclability 

  • Assessing the potential harmful effects on the environment when the packaging is disposed of 

The recycling recovery targets for glass, plastic, metal, and paper packaging was 54% in 2018 / 2019. The program also involves mandatory reporting to the Turkish government in relation to packaging of products produced, imported, or exported in the nation. 

EPR in South Korea

South Korea’s EPR system for packaging dates back to 2003 with the Waste Deposit Program, covering materials like metal cans, glass bottles, paperboard cartons, and more. South Korea has one of the most effective waste management and recycling systems in the world, and their EPR system is one of the levers used by the government to ensure success. 

South Korea’s EPR system is managed and monitored by the Korea Environment Corporation, who is responsible for establishing data collection measures and labeling schemes to demonstrate compliance with Korea’s system. Furthermore, the Ministry of the Environment releases updated targets for recycling rates by material type annually. Similar to other EPR systems covered, Korea’s system allows for producers to tackle responsibilities individually or through paying fees to a PRO.

EPR in Jordan

The nation of Jordan launched their EPR program for packaging waste in August of 2022 with the Instructions for Implementing the National Mechanism for the Principle of Extended Producer Responsibility 2022. The system comes from engagement with German firm cyclos GmbH and the sole PRO is Jordan Chamber of Commerce (including roles like registration, fees, and financing projects). 

The government of Jordan’s approach to EPR is different from other systems covered thus far, as involvement in a PRO is mandatory and there is only one PRO a producer can register with, that of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce.

The Jordan Ministry of the Environment will also engage with the Jordan Chamber of Commerce (single PRO) to ensure collected funds are spent on projects to boost packaging circularity in the nation. It is important to mention that the system was voluntary up until December 2023, but we should see major shifts in 2024.

EPR in Japan

Japan was the first nation in Asia to implement an EPR program for packaging with their 1995 act, Act on the Promotion of Sorted Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packaging (Packaging Recycling Act). The act covers packaging systems ranging from glass bottles and plastic packaging and requires “designated producers” to meet an array of recycling targets by material type. 

Similar to other systems covered, the Japanese government allows “designated producers” to carry out the Act’s requirements individually or through registration with Japan’s sole PRO—the Japan Containers and Packaging Recycling Association.

EPR in Vietnam

The nation of Vietnam implemented their EPR in January of 2022 with the Decree No. 08/2022/ND-CP Detailing a Number of Articles of the Law on Environmental Protection. The Decree covers producers, importers, and other plastic waste producers along with five product groups other than packaging including batteries and accumulators, electric and electronic devices, tires, lubricants, and transportation vehicles. 

The 2022 Decree calls for identified packaging producers to organize the lifecycle management and recycling of their products or pay into a fund called the Vietnam Environmental Protection Fund (VEPF), which will support the government in recycling and reuse packaging systems. The program is managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), which introduced an amendment at the end of 2023 focused on boosting administrative power and implementing exemptions for smaller organizations.

EPR in Philippines

The Philippines launched their EPR program in August of 2022 with their Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act of 2022 (Republic Act 11898). The Act was introduced by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

The program has a focus on plastic waste, requiring larger producers to create and manage their own EPR programs for reducing plastic waste. Organizations that fall under this scope are called Obliged Enterprises (OEs). Small to medium scale companies are encouraged to participate voluntarily. Plastics under the scope of the Philippines law include rigid packaging, flexible plastics, polymer plastic bags, and more. 

EPR in Indonesia

Indonesia launched their framework for EPR in 2019 with the passing of Regulation 75/2019 (Waste Reduction Roadmap). The Roadmap was designed to create targets for industries like consumer packaged goods, retail, and hotel and restaurants. Under the Roadmap, packaging materials including plastic, aluminum, glass, and paper have mandatory recycling requirements. 

Additionally, the law calls for the industries mentioned above to reduce overall waste by 30% by the year 2029. The regulation calls for a total ban on plastic straws, bags, and single-use polystyrene. 

EPR in Kazakhstan

The nation of Kazakhstan’s EPR system for packaging dates back to 2017 with the amendment of the 2007 Environmental Code. The 2017 amendment includes packaging types like plastic, paper, glass, metal, and beverage cartons. 

Similar to other systems covered in this piece, Kazakhstan allows for identified producers to carry out EPR duties alone or through the “EPR Operator”—which is essentially a PRO. However, companies who decide to tackle duties alone must still report data to the EPR Operator. 

EPR Programs in Oceania

EPR in Australia

EPR for packaging in Australia dates back to 2011 with the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 (NEPM). The 2011 law calls for obligated (at least annual turnover of AUD 5 million) producers of packaging to manage waste associated with their packaging to help Australia reach their national packaging-related targets of having 100% of the packaging produced in Australia be 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.

The program is overseen by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organization (APCO), which serves as the PRO to help aid Australia's packaging producers with requirements laid out in NEPM 2011. The "desired environmental outcomes" include optimized packaging design, increased recycling, and commitment to product stewardship.

EPR in New Zealand

New Zealand’s approach to packaging EPR is laid out in their 2008 Waste Minimisation Act. Packaging falls under New Zealand's act by being labeled as a “priority product”—identified as products that cause harm to the environment as waste or have benefits for recovery and reuse. All “priority products” defined by the Ministry for the Environment must have extensive product stewardship schemes to ensure the reduction of unnecessary waste and to boost New Zealand's circular economy.

The 2008 act has a number of provisions to help carry out the purpose of the act, including a waste disposal levy, mandatory product stewardship schemes, a waste minimisation fund, establishment of roles of territorial authorities, and a Waste Advisory 

Board. The 2008 act also includes 3 key regulations, coming to fruition in 2009, 2017, and 2018.

  • Waste Minimisation (Calculation and Payment of Waste Disposal Levy) Regulations 2009: Lays out the calculation and payment structure for producers who fall under requirements for the Waste Disposal Levy.

  • Waste Minimisation (Microbeads) Regulations 2017: Regulation that bands sale and production of a number of products that contain plastic microbeads. For example, the 2017 law focuses on wash-off products containing microbeads (cosmetic and exfoliants) and heavy duty / industrial cleaning products.

  • Waste Minimisation (Plastic Shopping Bags) Regulations 2018: This law bans retailers in New Zealand from selling or offering single-use plastic
    shopping bags. 

New Zealand’s EPR program is comprehensive, and we recommend visiting their website to learn more about the act as it is a great overview of EPR and a shining example for developing systems to follow. 

Looking Forward and How to Prepare?

As you can see, many nations have complex and comprehensive EPR programs that cover packaging waste. We identified 61 established EPR programs that include packaging and their scope. A large percentage of the systems also use a form of a PRO to help the industries at large remain compliant without putting too much burden on one particular firm. 

EPR regulations for packaging have been around for over three decades, and more and more nations and states are introducing drafts for their own EPR systems. In order to stay compliant with current and emerging regulations, you must have an understanding of a packaging system's impacts on the environment and proper systems for disposal at end-of-life. We can help! 

Here at the Packaging School, we offer a Certificate of Sustainable Packaging (CSP) which will get you up to speed on sustainable packaging design, measurement, and strategy. Learn more about our 40-hour, 100% online certificate program at https://packagingschool.com/certifications/get-to-know-csp 

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