A new study from adelphi shows that competition drives innovation, improves services and ensures cost-efficient waste management

A new study commissioned by Landbell Group company European Recycling Platform (ERP) has assessed the performance of different extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes in Europe.

It finds that EPR schemes tend to perform better when there is competition between multiple producer responsibility organisations (PROs), suggesting that competition is beneficial to the circular economy. The study was conducted by think-tank, adelphi, and published on 20 July.

The study shows that PROs operating in a competitive environment have a strong focus on driving innovation and improving the services offered to producers, which tends to lead to higher customer satisfaction. Competition also ensures cost-efficient implementation of waste management activities such as collection, sorting and recycling. It does this by maintaining competition between a comparably larger variety of waste management operators and recyclers.

On the other hand, monopolistic systems, where a single PRO provides services to producers, tend to rely on effective, but often costly innovation, and have a higher risk of market power abuse if transparency is insufficient.

These findings hold true for waste electrical and electronic equipment, batteries, and packaging.

The study also provides recommendations on how to further strengthen the performance of competitive EPR schemes.

Among others, it proposes establishing independent coordination bodies to ensure a level playing field between multiple PROs. The main tasks of these mandatory bodies would be to:

  • coordinate and monitor the allocation of collection responsibilities,
  • manage joint activities such as awareness campaigns, and
  • function as an intermediary between PROs and other stakeholders such as local authorities.

The study also recommends working towards an EU-wide harmonisation of the criteria for the eco-modulation of EPR fees.

Download the study “Analysis of Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes” here.


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