The Reducing Plastic Waste in Canada project team has produced a key report on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in Europe that examines leading practices to recover materials from the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) sector. These experiences can inform Canadian policy makers for lessons learned in other leading jurisdictions.

Canada has well over 10 years of experience in implementing EPR in provincial and territorial jurisdictions across Canada and has been learning from varying approaches and models. Beyond increasing the efficacy of existing programs, there are policy discussions about how EPR schemes can evolve to influence product design, support reuse options and expand material collection and recovery. There are good examples of successful EPR programs in Europe that increase available materials for recycling by capturing those generated by the ICI sector. Recent and new European policy requirements and recycling targets will drive more countries to expand the range of materials being collected through the EPR schemes.

As some jurisdictions in Canada intend to move forward with EPR schemes for the ICI sector, useful information on different approaches for capturing ICI materials can benefit the development of possible and suitable approaches to expanding the recovery of plastics from this sector. Lessons and experiences from European counterparts and discussions among peer stakeholders can enlighten and eventually strengthen existing systems in Canada.

The Reducing Plastic Waste in Canada developed a report “Applying Extended Producer Responsibility to the ICI Sector: Case Studies and Lessons from the European Union” to support these endeavours by sharing relevant European experiences.  This report focuses its analysis of three cases studies of EPR for the ICI sector: Belgium, Italy and Austria. These countries were selected based on their different approaches and the sufficient maturity of their programs to provide useful lessons for Canadian stakeholders. The report includes an overview of the legislative framework and requirements, implementation aspects, operational advantages, challenges, key take aways and importantly overall observations and lessons from these programs to date.  The Plastic Action Centre is pleased to host this report as a means of profiling European innovation in the application of EPR to the ICI sector.