Implementing Extended Producer Responsibility in Flemish Waste Policy: Evaluation of the Introduction of the Duty of Acceptance
In order to implement extended producer responsibility in the Flemish waste policy, the Flemish government introduced the duty of acceptance in the Waste Decree. At the moment, the duty applies for paper, batteries, vehicles, tyres and electrical and electronic equipment. Producers are obliged to set up free of charge take-back collection systems for the disposal of their products in the post-consumption phase. As such, market failure is corrected by reconverting social costs into private ones, respecting the polluter pays principle. For the practical execution of the basic rules laid down in the legal framework, negotiated agreements are concluded with sector associations. This sector-based policy approach allows setting up efficient collection and disposal networks taking into account the specific characteristics of each waste product rather than implementing a uniform system. Although the duty of acceptance confronts producers with waste management responsibilities, they have actually succeeded in shifting most of the burden to the recovery sector. As waste management organisations have become the rightful owner of end-of-life products, they were able to create a rivalry amongst waste management companies. This enabled them to impose the recovery targets, to which the producers have engaged themselves in the negotiated agreements, on the recovery sector. On the one hand the monopolistic position of these waste management organisations stimulates market concentration in the recovery sector, setting aside small and medium sized companies, which could lead to negative monopolistic consequences. On the other hand, this entails a positive effect on the environmental performance of the recovery sector. Moreover, a lot of management tasks are passed on from government administrations to these private waste management organisations so that more government resources can be spent to tailor-made waste policy making. Additional resources and learning experiences have significantly improved the quality of more recently concluded negotiated agreements. Convinced that this innovative policy approach contributes to the overall goal of sustainable development, the government has already planned to start up additional sector-based policy programs based on the duty of acceptance.
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- Marco Runkel, 2003. "Product Durability and Extended Producer Responsibility in Solid Waste Management," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 24(2), pages 161-182, February.
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