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An overview of the problems posed by plastic products and the role of extended producer responsibility in Europe

Leal, Walter and Saari, U and Fedoruk, M and Iital, A and Moora, H and Klöga, M and Voronova, V (2019) An overview of the problems posed by plastic products and the role of extended producer responsibility in Europe. Journal of Cleaner Production, 214. pp. 550-558. ISSN 0959-6526

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Abstract

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Plastic products are easy and convenient for our everyday use, but their negative impacts on human health and the environment cannot be overlooked. The negative impacts and effects of plastic waste are now widely known and have been subject of much recent media coverage, both in Europe and on a global level. Faced with increasing amounts of plastic waste, the European Union as a whole and many European governments in particular, are currently revising the policy options available to cope with the problem. One of the tools which may be deployed with a view to reducing the pressures posed by plastic waste, is the Extended Producer Responsibility principle. It is considered to be one of the major waste management policy instruments that support the implementation of the European waste hierarchy. Its application may assist in fostering the collection and recycling of waste streams that contain plastic. This paper presents an overview of the problems posed by plastic waste, and outlines their environmental dimensions. It discusses the role of the Extended Producer Responsibility principle and provides some recommendations that may be useful in enhancing extended producer responsibility.

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