A business report from the German group Deutsche Welle paints a very confusing picture for those looking at Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for paper, packaging and products, or PPP, in US. Does EPR in Germany, the leader in EPR policy for the past three decades, work?
According to a study by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Germans produce more packaging per capita (1.3 lbs. per day) than any other European country. Companies are actually making more money by using more packaging. Stephan Gabriel Haufe, German Environment Minister, announced that new packaging laws would provide stronger incentives to manufacturers to redesign and reduce packaging and better incentives for recovery of beverage containers.
Some companies can easily comply with new regulations as they have cut packaging by 20% on their own. What are we to make of this information? Apparently under the founding EPR system:
- There has been no redesign of packaging.
- There has been an increase in packaging.
- There has been an increase in incineration capacity.
- There has been a decline in refillable bottles and deposits.
The list is a fit, if not complete, summary of the critique of EPR – PPP in the US. Continue reading