Scientists propose international producer responsibility

7 June 2022

An international working group of researchers and experts has presented a draft and petition calling for ultimate producer responsibility (UPR) for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). They claim UPR would spread extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems, which are bound by national or internal market borders, internationally and close existing loopholes.

The scientists justify their call by, for example, the lack of producer responsibility for exports of WEEE to West Africa. Although such exports are officially banned, loopholes allow this ban to be circumvented, as in the case of used telephones. These phones are often already unusable on arrival and must be treated immediately – without producers having to pay for the costs.

Against this background, the scientists call on the European Commission and Nigerian government to introduce UPR for electrical equipment, establishing a financial transfer from European EPR systems to those countries that import electrical equipment.

Another aim of the petition is to educate consumers, manufacturers, and policy makers about existing problems within EPR and to highlight UPR as a potential solution for the circular economy.