Panel discussion: Introducing EPR schemes for packaging around the world

Online • 29. April 2021

Panel discussion: Introducing EPR schemes for packaging around the world

On Thursday 29 April 2021, the PREVENT Waste Alliance invited its members and interested actors to attend a panel discussion on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). More than 100 participants from around the globe tuned in and followed the discussion eagerly.

On the occasion of its anniversary celebrations, the PREVENT Waste Alliance hosted a panel discussion on EPR with experts from the Indonesian Packaging Recovery Organization (IPRO), Karo Sambhav and WWF.

Before diving into the panel discussion, Mr Daniel Haas, Senior Policy Advisor at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) welcomed the participants. With regards to the following panel discussion, he stressed the importance of EPR as a core policy instrument to improve the situation around waste management and to further the agenda around making the economy more circular. At the same time, he acknowledged that every country must find an individual solution that fits the country-specific conditions.
With this he handed over to Ms Angelina Schreiner (GIZ/PREVENT) who provided a definition of Extended Producer Responsibility to create a common understanding among the participants. She then introduced the PREVENT EPR Toolbox for packaging to the audience. The Toolbox provides extensive knowledge and know-how on the topic of EPR for packaging. At the same time, the collection of materials is general enough to be applied to different country contexts. It has been developed by the PREVENT working group on plastics in collaboration with several stakeholders and shall serve as training material.

After this short introduction into the topic, the floor was opened for Ms Annisa Paramita from the Indonesian Packaging Recovery Organization (IPRO), Mr Pranshu Singhal from the Indian Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) Karo Sambhav and Ms Xin Chen from the nature conservation organisation WWF. While all three representatives briefly presented their efforts to introduce EPR schemes for packaging, one thing already became apparent: although their organisational structures and country focus differ, the collaboration with a range of stakeholders is central to the work of all three organisations.

For the subsequent exchange Mr Pham Manh Hoai from WWF Viet Nam joined the panel. In the discussion, questions were raised by the audience concerning the treatment of low-value plastics, the set-up of a PRO, and the design for recycling. Furthermore, the participants were interested to know how an inclusive EPR scheme could be created and whether a country should start implementing an EPR scheme in these challenging times or if one should wait.

Regarding the topic of multi-layered plastics and low-value plastics, all panellists acknowledged a lack of scalable recycling solutions. This is one of the big challenges, the guests agreed. Ms Annisa Paramita pointed out that IPRO is eager to find a recycler for this type of waste and to advance the topic. As there is still a long way to go until the packaging is redesigned to make it more recyclable, for now ways have to be found to process the already existing packaging waste.

Moreover, the discussions showed that the structure of a PRO heavily depends on the country contexts. Options for the set-up include for-profit and non-profit; state-led and industry-led; one single PRO or multiple PROs within the same EPR system. Mr Pranshu Singhal elaborated that one needs to look at the laws of the country to decide. While Karo Sambhav in India is set up as a for-profit organisation operating in fact as a non-profit, IPRO in Indonesia is a non-profit organisation.

The participants also touched on further topics such as the integration of the informal sector, data management, cost of compliance and the high relevance of legislation.
The panel discussion concluded with the question whether the panellists would recommend to start setting up an EPR scheme in these challenging times. All panellists stressed the importance of Extended Producer Responsibility regarding improved waste management, but also as part of the transition to a green economy. Their answer was clear: if we do not act now, other challenges will arise later. As Mr Pham Manh Hoai put it: “EPR development is a long process. The sooner we start, the better.”


The presentations that were shown during the first part of the event can be found here and in the PREVENT HUB. The second part of the event was a panel discussion, which is why no presentations were used for this part.