International experience to better finance EPR systems

Event: ERIA-IGES-APRSCP Hybrid Event: ‘The Implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility in the Asian Context: Challenges and Lessons Learned'
Date: November 23, 2022 (Bangkok, Thailand)

Dr Yasuhiko Hotta, Vice President of APRSCP and Programme Director of Sustainable Consumption and Production Area at IGES, identified six challenges for adopting EPR: interpretation of EPR, the difficulty of identifying producers, the infeasibility of the take-back scheme, competition with the informal waste management sector, waste collection and treatment infrastructure, and import and export of recyclables.

He described how Japan implements Home Appliance Recycling Act, which targets air conditioners, TV sets, refrigerators, freezers, and washing machines. In this mechanism, consumers pay for the collection, transportation, and recycling fee when disposing of those appliances. The collection and transportation fees were set by the retailers, while the recycling fee was set by the manufacturers.

‘Japanese companies invest in recycling facilities. Before making their products, they usually send their product designers to go to the recycling facility so that they can learn how to make their products easy to be recycled,’ said Dr Hotta.

Dr Hotta highlighted that the implementation of the act came with a great degree of intervention from the manufacturer’s association. Before the act took effect, the association established a voluntary agreement for the collection of used appliances in collaboration with municipalities. Furthermore, to make the take-back scheme most effective, the government optimized existing commercial habits whereby retailers take back used appliances from customers when they deliver new products. These two actions became the key to EPR implementation in Japan.