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The EPR Law in Chile: Promoting Sustainable Waste Management

Cristián Morales, founding partner of Espryral, presented on the progress and obstacles in the implementation of the REP Law in Chile during the last meeting of the Circular Economy Working Group of the Eurochile Business Foundation.

Publicado el 22/09/2023

The Extended Producer Responsibility Law (EPR) in Chile, also known as EPR Law, is a legislation enacted in 2016, whose main objective is to promote sustainable waste management, encouraging the reduction, reuse and recycling of products and packaging, with the aim that producers take responsibility for managing the waste generated by their products at the end of their useful life cycle.

On Tuesday 12 September, businessman Cristián Morales from Espyral, a consulting company that helps to generate strategies for circular transformations and compliance with the EPR Law, presented on the development of the EPR Law in Chile during the meeting of the Circular Economy Working Group of the Eurochile Business Foundation. In his presentation, he addressed several key issues, such as the categorisation of priority products in household and non-household categories, the objectives and goals of the EPR regime, the possible penalties that can reach up to 10 UTM, the valorisation of recycling, the various categories contemplated in the law and its future development, including the goals to be met in the coming years.

This implies financing the collection, treatment and proper disposal of this waste, which means that the law applies to a wide range of products and packaging, including electronics, batteries, tyres, packaging, lubricating oils and batteries. “To implement this law, producers must fulfil their responsibilities through individual or collective management systems, partnering with other producers or contracting with third parties. In that sense, recycling and recovery targets are gradually established with the aim of increasing the recycling rate in the country,” says Cristián Morales.

In addition, the EPR Law provides for the introduction of eco-labels to enable consumers to identify environmentally friendly products. It also establishes sanctions and fines for producers who do not comply with their responsibilities and promotes environmental education in relation to waste management. The implementation of this law has been carried out progressively in different sectors and products over several years, with the aim of facilitating the adaptation of producers and management systems to the new regulations.

On the other hand, in Europe, the implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility Law varies from country to country, with specific regulations defining the obligations of producers. Some European countries have specific EPR laws that clearly state these responsibilities, while others have more general regulations related to waste management and the circular economy.

In this regard, Chile took as a reference the legislations of Spain, Germany and Belgium that focus on packaging. In the case of Spain, the EPR law is based on the 2011 Law on Waste and Contaminated Soils, which establishes the responsibilities of producers in waste management, thus, by 2019, through selective collection systems, it achieved a recycling rate of 78.8%.

Regarding Germany, it adopted the EPR law in 1991 and achieved a recycling rate of 87.9% in 2019 thanks to selective sorting and recycling systems. Belgium, on the other hand, implemented the Extended Producer Responsibility Law in 1997 and achieved a rate of 89% in 2019 for plastic, glass, paper and cardboard packaging through efficient collection and recycling systems.

The European Union (EU) establishes a general framework for waste management in Europe through the Waste Framework Directive, promoting circular economy principles including producer responsibility. In addition, the EU has adopted specific directives for products such as packaging, batteries and electronic products, which include provisions related to producer responsibility for the proper management of waste.

Ultimately, the Extended Producer Responsibility Law is an important measure to promote sustainability and reduce waste generation in Chile by making producers more aware of their responsibility for the full life cycle of their products. It also encourages the circular economy by boosting the reuse and recycling of materials.