Extended Producer Responsibility: Who Is Responsible for Recycling Crates at the End of Their Lifecycle?

How to Bring Extended Producer Responsibility to the Forefront of Your Operations.

Extended producer responsibility is something that all South African businesses with complex supply chains have to keep in mind at every link. Making it a central part of your operations can mean all the difference in terms of the environmental impact made by the business, especially if it becomes integral to how you choose suppliers and vendors moving into the future. When products like crates (and other common plastic items used across various sectors) reach the end of their life cycle, extended producer responsibility also answers the question of who is responsible for these products at this point. 


Understanding Extended Producer Responsibility

Waste management is a complex field and is an integral part of any business operation today. The right strategy can mean the difference between an operation that is harmful to the environment, and one that does what it can in order to reduce its impact on the wellbeing of the planet. Extended producer responsibility is a central concept to efficient waste management, referencing the responsibility of manufacturers and importers to take extra care in designing new products for sale, but more importantly, to take the reins when these products can no longer be used in their original form.


Who is Responsible for Recycling Crates at the End of Their Life Cycle?

Sticking to the example of plastic crates in a bid to emphasize this responsibility, it’s worth noting what happens to these (and other similar products) when they have extended to the “point of no return” in terms of their original use. These products should end up at a recycling plant, and manufacturers who keep extended producer responsibility in mind may even have an on-site one to take care of it from there. The Mpact Plastic Containers team prioritises this, reprocessing these products into raw materials that can be used in the creation of new products, or in breaking them down to raw materials that can be repurposed elsewhere.


Encouraging the Circular Economy

Bringing extended producer responsibility to the forefront of your supply chain means encouraging a view towards the circular economy. This is different to the linear economy, which focuses on disposing of products at the end of their traditional life cycle. This adds to landfill pressure especially if you’re running a large operation that depends on a lot of plastic products. 


Consider discussing the circular economy concept with all your employees, encourage audits of all supply chain links to find out where improvements can be made, and consider including this kind of thinking in marketing materials so that the message is spread to as many people as possible.


Directing EPR Through Sustainable Solutions

Extended producer responsibility is only possible by taking charge of your own operations and the impact on the environment, as well as working with producers who are happy to go about this responsibility with open arms. 


Mpact Plastic Containers is one such supplier that focuses on creating sustainable solutions that have been created from recycled materials, and that will eventually be recycled again on-site once they have reached the end of their life cycle. With a focus on circular economy and recyclability, we are one of the leading suppliers of sustainable solutions (and a committed follower of EPR ourselves), so that we can help everyone we work with take their responsibility to the environment as seriously as possible. 

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