Chapter 6: Extended Producer Responsibility: opportunities and challenges for waste pickers
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Marine waste pollution and growing waste generation rates around the world are propelling the widespread adoption of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policies and practices, which hold producers more financially, and sometimes operationally, responsible for the end-of-life management of their products and packaging. EPR can generate considerable disruption within waste systems and is often described as a policy framework that helps formalize the waste sector. Waste pickers and their organizations see EPR as both a potential threat to their work, as well as a possible opportunity for securing more decent and formal work within the waste sector. Since 2018, the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers has been mobilizing its members to share their experiences with EPR and develop recommendations for EPR that integrates rather than sidelines waste pickers. Through literature review and the experiences of the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers working group on EPR, this chapter evaluates key opportunities, challenges and recommendations for the integration of waste pickers in EPR, and posits the question of who should be responsible for ensuring that EPR is inclusive.