Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) describes the comprehensive obligation that South African businesses have to reduce the environmental impact of their products and packaging.
Under the EPR model of ‘cradle-to-cradle’ product management, a producer’s responsibility spans the entire product management lifecycle, from when it is made until after it has been used by a consumer.
This obligation encompasses waste reduction, recovery, recycling and reuse, and in many cases brand owners are solely and fully responsible for designing, operating and financing the associated diversion programme.
What this means for business
EPR requires total producer responsibility, physical and financial, for products and packaging supplied into the marketplace. It shifts responsibility upstream, away from municipalities and regional waste authorities to the companies that put the products (along with their packaging and marketing material) into the marketplace.
Designed to divert and reduce waste, EPR closes the loop on materials management, recovering product waste when the consumer discards it (known as post-consumer waste) and reusing it as a raw material to produce a new product or packaging material.
This approach encourages industry producers to become more conscious about product and packaging design.
It departs from traditional linear thinking, and is based on the concept that manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and consumers all share in end-of-life product management.
The obligations that brand owners have
According to the Waste Act, Chapter 4, Part 2, Section 16, a holder of waste must, within the holder’s power, take all reasonable measures to:
- Avoid the generation of waste and where such generation cannot be avoided, to minimise the toxicity and amounts of waste that is generated;
- Reduce, re-use, recycle and recover waste;
- Where waste must be disposed of, ensure that the waste is treated and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner;
- Manage the waste in such a manner that it does not endanger health or the environment or cause a nuisance through noise, odour or visual impacts;
- Prevent any employee or any person under his or her supervision from contravening this Act; and
- Prevent the waste from being used for an unauthorised purpose.
Mpact Waste Management is part of the Mpact Group, South Africa’s leading paper and and plastics recycler. It assists with tailored waste management solutions for businesses in most industry sectors, and no company or facility is too large or too small. Mpact Waste Management is able to deliver a customisable solution to help businesses dispose of their waste in a responsible manner.
As part of the Mpact Group, Mpact Waste Management ensures the best prices for its customers based on the current market rate in the region and dependent on the grade and quality of waste supplied.
With a national footprint through collecting and selling waste to the 15 Mpact Recycling baling operations, Mpact Waste Management also ensures a consistent supply of recyclable paper and cardboard to Mpact’s mills, glass to Consol, aluminium cans to aluminium foil converters, white paper to tissue mills and plastic to polymer converters. This sees that waste products end up in the recycling waste stream, and ultimately in the manufacturing cycle to be processed into new products.
Mpact Waste Management will conduct a free audit where a company’s waste management needs are assessed. This means that Mpact Waste Management can tailor solutions that best suit its customer’s requirements.
Mpact Waste Management strives to make economic and ecological sense through closed loop sustainability supply and manufacturing processes. This is vital for companies who support environmental sustainability and place high importance on conserving resources and optimally managing their waste.
Through its efficient management of waste, each of the Mpact mills are supplied with paper and cardboard as a raw input source material. Its Springs Mill also accepts liquid packaging. Other converters are also supplied with other grades of recyclable materials. Companies are then able to comply with their EPR obligations and are assured that their waste will form part of the circular economy by being converted into new products.
The Mpact Group has been contributing to EPR by means of a voluntary levy long before it was legislated. The group is registered with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), as required by the amended EPR legislation.
Extended Producer Responsibility is only possible by taking charge of operations and its impact on the environment, as well as working with service providers that specialise in waste management such as Mpact Waste Management.
To find out more about the effective management of your waste please get in touch via our website where one of Mpact Waste Management’s experts will help answer all of your questions.