Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

This help article offers a general introduction to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

What is EPR?

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an environmental policy to reduce waste and encourage recycling. First introduced in the 1990s, it makes manufacturers and suppliers responsible for the life-cycle of certain products and packaging.

EPR legislation is introduced on a country-by-country basis. Each country has different registration requirements, processes, categories, and authorized governing bodies.

EPR packaging regulations affect AbeBooks and its sellers. We encourage you to become familiar with how EPR affects your business.

Learn about Germany’s EPR Requirements.

Learn about France’s EPR Requirements.

If you need assistance with EPR, there is a list of authorized third-party companies offering support services.

Who is a producer?

Producers are not just manufacturers. EPR requires producers to mitigate the environmental impact of their products and packaging. Typically, EPR defines a producer as anyone who first introduces a product to the market on a commercial basis. Anyone who ships products in packaging to customers located in a particular region is considered a producer under EPR.

What responsibilities might I have?

EPR differs from country-to-country. Typically, the following responsibilities will apply to you:

  • Financial responsibilities: Depending on the amount of packaging and/or products shipped to customers in an EPR region, you may be required to pay eco-fees to a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO). In some countries, you will need to register with EPR authorities, which will come at a cost.
  • Information responsibilities: You are typically obliged to file reports to government authorities and PROs on the amount of packaging and/or products shipped to customers. You also need to provide EPR registration numbers to AbeBooks as proof of compliance.

What are EPR categories?

EPR applies to different products, commonly referred to as categories. They include packaging, electrical and electronic equipment, and batteries.

Packaging regulations affect AbeBooks and its sellers.

EPR applies to all types of packaging including product packaging (called primary packaging), and shipping materials (called secondary packaging) such as padded envelopes, bubble-wrap and boxes.

What is a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO)?

PROs are service providers that collect eco-fees to organize waste management and recycling on behalf of producers. In most countries, signing a contract with a PRO is obligatory. After signing the contract with the relevant PRO, you may need to report and pay eco-fees on a regular basis. Depending on the country, PROs are sometimes called compliance schemes, compliance systems, dual systems or eco-organizations.

What are EPR registration numbers?

EPR registration numbers show that you are registered in a particular country. Germany’s registration numbers for packaging are referred to as LUCID Registration Numbers, while France has Unique Identification Numbers (UIN). The format of registration numbers varies by country.

What are EPR eco-fees?

EPR eco-fees are paid to PROs based on the amount of packaging and/or products shipped by producers to customers in an EPR region. PROs use these eco-fees to organize waste collection and recycling. EPR eco-fees are sometimes called eco-contributions or system participation fees.

What are EPR reports?

Depending on the country, you may be required to submit EPR reports to government authorities and/or PROs on a regular basis. These reports are used to calculate your eco-fees.

What does it mean to comply with EPR?

EPR varies from country-to-country. Typically, you will need to take the following steps:

Step 1: Registration

This is a one-time process to obtain a registration number for the packaging category. You need to provide it to AbeBooks as proof of compliance.

Step 2: Declaration and reporting

EPR typically requires you to join a PRO. You are obliged to declare the amount of packaging and/or products shipped to customers. These declarations may need to be reported to just PROs, or to PROs and government authorities.

Step 3: Payment

You will be required to pay eco-fees to your PRO. Eco-fees are determined by the PRO and are usually based on the amount of packaging and/or products shipped to customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I just register with a central EU organization?

No. Each country has different registration requirements, processes and authorized EPR bodies.

How often do I need to report my sales and/or packaging, and pay EPR eco-fees?

Declarations and payments may be completed on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis – depending on the PRO.

What’s the difference between primary packaging and secondary packaging?

Primary packaging refers to packaging on or around the product. Secondary packaging refers to shipping materials such as envelopes, plastic bags, boxes, bubble-wrap, and other protective materials used to ship the product. EPR also classifies shipping labels as secondary packaging.

How much will it cost me?

A one-time registration fee may range from €0 to €250 or more. EPR eco-fees are calculated on sales and/or packaging. Each PRO maintains its own prices, which may vary from year to year.

Do packages shipped to customers in Germany or France need to display EPR numbers?