Advancing the Frontier of Extended Producer Responsibility: The management of waste electrical and electronic equipment in non-OECD countries

University dissertation from International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Lund University

Abstract: Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has become a salient issue in non-OECD countries. With a growing awareness about serious damages to the environment and human health from a lack of safe treatment and recycling of WEEE, there has been a search for policy responses in several of these countries. This research finds that extended producer responsibility (EPR), a policy principle that underpins WEEE programmes in many OECD countries, can help solve the WEEE problem in non-OECD countries by putting the onus on the producers to ensure environmentally sound management of their end-of-life products and make improvements in their product systems, including change in product design. Although there are challenges to the implementation of EPR in emerging and developing economies, notably the problem of free riders and the competition for materials from the polluting recycling sector, they are manageable. In addition, opportunities exist that can facilitate the development of EPR-based solutions, such as the relatively small stock of historical WEEE and manufacturers that have the commitment and experiences with the principle. What is needed to realise this potential is for the policy-makers to create a policy framework that allows and encourages product and system innovations from the producers.