Ellen MacArthur Foundation Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging statement signed by beauty brands

The public statement​​ said that without Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) – where supply chain members were mandated to take on certain costs and joint responsibility – packaging collection and recycling was “unlikely to be meaningfully scaled” ​in the future.

EPR schemes ‘challenging to set up’ but could be a ‘game-changer’ if successful

Among the 100+ signatories, including a raft of food and beverage players like Coca-Cola and Nestlé, non-profit WWF and the European Investment Bank, several leading beauty players had aligned their support, including Beiersdorf, Henkel, L’Oréal, Schwarz Group and Unilever, among others.

“For a circular economy, packaging that can’t be eliminated or reused must be collected, sorted and recycled or composted after use. But currently, the economics do not stack up: collection, sorting and recycling or processing packaging costs more than the revenues made from selling the recycled materials. We need dedicated, ongoing and sufficient funding to make the economics of recycling work,”​ the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said.

The industry-signed statement, therefore, outlined why mandatory, fee-based EPR schemes were “the only proven and likely way to provide this funding”.

Maarten Dubois, project lead on Circular Economy at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said: “Setting up Extended Producer Responsibility schemes creates new markets for recycling. It is challenging to set up but, if successful, it is a game-changer in the global transition towards a circular economy.”

Big beauty and others sending a ‘strong signal’ on desire to create change

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation said that whilst final thinking on how to best implement EPR in packaging across different global geographies remained undefined, the signatories were “sending a strong signal”​ they were willing to step up and be part of change.

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