EU Waste Framework Directive, What's Next? : A cost­benefit analysis of an extended producer responsibility for textiles in the European Union

University essay from Linköpings universitet/NationalekonomiLinköpings universitet/Filosofiska fakulteten; Linköpings universitet/NationalekonomiLinköpings universitet/Filosofiska fakulteten

Abstract: The objective of our thesis was to conduct a pilot study to evaluate if an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for textiles in the EU could be a socioeconomically beneficial policy to complement the EU Waste Framework Directive’s amendment of separately collected textiles. The aim was to investigate if the policy could achieve increased circular design of textiles as well as if it could work as a management plan for the increased collection rates. The evaluation was made with a Cost-Benefit Analysis, using the French EPR-system for textiles as a base. It was further complemented with previously conducted research of EPR-systems for other waste streams in the EU, as well as by previously conducted investigations for other national implementations of producer responsibilities for textiles. In additional support, we used data for differences between the member states in the European Union and conducted an expert interview. The EPR was compared to a situation where the municipalities in the member states would instead be responsible for the separate collection of textiles. The result of our investigation illustrates how both alternatives generate a net-loss, the Municipal Responsibility with - €7,611,410,291 and the Extended Producer Responsibility with - €6,012,109,341 during the first year of implementation. The EPR alternative generates a lower net-loss during the first three years of implementation. The producer responsibility is however the less beneficial alternative four years after implementation, since the decreased opportunity cost of labour generated through the hiring of unemployed assumed under the producer responsibility is deducted. The producer responsibility does however generate benefits through clearly defined responsibility of the textiles placed on the European market and gives incentives for increased fibre-to-fibre recycling and for increased durability of textiles. The initiative therefore generates both higher quantifiable-and non-quantifiable, environmental benefits than the alternative. We conclude that an Extended Producer Responsibility should be further examined as a complement to the regulation of separate collection of textiles, to reach an increased circular textile industry.

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