November 16, 2023

Advancing EPR jointly – The Global Action Partnership for Extended Producer Responsibility Sets Sail with Successful Launch Event

On October 19th, the Global Action Partnership for Extended Producer Responsibility (GAP for EPR) celebrated the successful launch of its initiative in an international digital event. With 300 participants, the event showcased the potential and importance of a global network dedicated to advancing EPR practices. In this article, we will share highlights of this launch event, including the unveiling of the partnership’s goals and new website, a lively panel discussion, and the formation of a thriving EPR community. 



Collaboration on a Global Scale: The GAP for EPR

The GAP for EPR is an international partnership established between GIZ, WWF and OECD and hosted by the PREVENT Waste Alliance. It also receives circular economy support from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and is in close collaboration with UNEP on providing technical support to governments and PROs – all of whom were in attendance to celebrate this new partnership and platform for collaboration.

“EPR is a promising approach for solving global waste issues, but it faces challenges not only at the international level, but also for domestic implementation. There are gaps, such as capacity development, innovative EPR designs, and the space to think jointly at a global scale. All of which can be filled by the GAP for EPR,” said Peter Börkey, Circular Economy Lead at OECD when outlining the challenges and opportunities of EPR.


But how does the GAP for EPR address these challenges?

The answer came quickly, delivered by Nicole Bendsen, Coordinator of the Secretariat of the PREVENT Waste Alliance; Dorothee Bürkle, Advisor at GIZ; Feng Wang, Programme Officer and Coordinator for plastics at UNEP and Ambrogio Miserocchi, Policy Manager at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation:

  • An extensive library of EPR-related documents, from case studies to explanatory videos and practical guides
  • An EPR helpdesk for tailored technical support
  • And a community space fostering collaboration in the field of EPR

A first pilot is already in the works and two voluntary PROs have been selected to receive support: MAREA from Malaysia (Malaysian Recycling Alliance) and CEMPRE from Argentina.


Highlighting Opportunities in High-Level Panel Discussion

Moderated by Elizabeth Maloba, five EPR experts discussed their assessments concerning EPR, and the role the GAP for EPR should play in a lively panel discussion.

The most important takeaways were:

  • Even countries with already existing mandatory EPR schemes face challenges in implementation based on resistance or lack of understanding. Sharing information and success stories is essential
  • Challenges in implementing an EPR system are wide-ranging and include the identification of suitable recovery and collection methods, the set-up of fees and financial and control mechanisms, the formulation of relevant EPR legislation and its enforcement, as well as and producer engagement
  • Waste pickers are often overlooked as key stakeholders in EPR initiatives, but should be included in policymaking and co-designing of programmes to ensure their sustainability
  • EPR schemes within the EU helped boosting separate collection and recycling rates. However, progress seems to be stagnating nowadays.
  • There seems to be an increased call for EPR systems by companies in order to deliver on their voluntary corporate commitments.

If you’re interested in hearing more, you can check out the event recording as well as the panel highlights.


Engage with a Thriving EPR Community

With its successful launch, the Global Action Partnership for EPR sets sail, aiming to create a common understanding on EPR, provide practical, technical support to countries and PROs, as well as build a community of practice which facilitates the sharing of experiences, provides a space for discussing innovation and contributes to relevant international processes.

And now, the GAP invites you to its helm with a warm invitation to participate in its diverse activities and offer feedback on the topics in which you would like to engage.

Get involved now and be part of the global conversation on EPR!