Fostering Sustainable Consumption and Production: Extended Producer Responsibility
In an era marked by escalating environmental concerns and the importance of sustainable development, the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) has emerged as a crucial strategy to address the many challenges posed by excessive waste generation and the depletion of natural resources.
EPR is a policy approach that forces ‘producers’ to assume a broader responsibility for the lifecycle management of their products, which includes their environmental impact from creation to disposal.
Background to EPR in the South African Context
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE) published its regulations for EPR in terms of Section 18 of the National Environmental Management Waste Act, 2008 (NEMWA) on 5 November 2020. EPR Regulations for all packaging producers and importers were effective from 5 May 2021 and the deadline for compliance was 5 November 2021. Producers are required to either join an existing Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) or establish their own scheme as a way of showing commitment to EPR.
The government has set ambitious collection and recycling targets for the next five years, and this legislation promotes investment in the collection infrastructure, making recycling more accessible for consumers. There are currently various government-approved PRO schemes that deal with waste placed on the South African consumer market, all of which have different guidelines for registration.
EPR, a Circular Economy, and SDGs
Extended Producer Responsibility is a powerful approach to bringing about a more sustainable paradigm of production and consumption that compels producers to take holistic ownership of their products, and stimulates the adoption of circular economy principles, resource efficiency, and innovative designs. This approach not only mitigates waste and pollution, but also encourages consumers to make more informed and sustainable choices. In the broader context of global sustainability, EPR is intricately linked to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12, offering a solid strategy to realise responsible production and consumption.
Embracing EPR is a positive step in the direction of creating a more harmonious relationship between human activities and the planet’s well-being.
Sustainability Roadmap Progress – Our Green Journey
Wellness Warehouse has registered with the DFFW and the relevant PRO/EPR schemes. We are currently conducting an EPR compliance audit across our value chain and creating awareness for our own brand suppliers about the importance of EPR.
As an ethical and environmentally friendly brand owner and retailer, we are strongly motivating that all plastic packaging producers, regardless of whether they trigger the 10-tonne per annum plastic packaging threshold, register with a plastics PRO/EPR scheme and participate in effective plastic waste management solutions.
As a business, we are committed to playing our part in driving sustainability and a circular economy, which means that we adhere to mandatory regulations and ensure that - within the value chain - there is EPR compliance as part of responsible waste management.
Since April 2023, we have engaged the services of Y-Waste as our official waste management service provider for our distribution centre, which includes managing all general waste, recycling, and organic waste responsibly.