This thinkpiece by Emballageretur was orignally published for LOOP Forum.
Find the article here.


Dato: February 7th 2024

Companies are met with increasingly growing demands from consumers, partners, and employees to accelerate a transition towards more sustainable and responsible products and solutions.

Politicians are also calling for action and are utilizing different legislative tools – one of those is the so-called Extended Producer Responsibility. The next extended producer responsibility will be for packaging. It is expected to affect 41.000 companies in Denmark and the deadline is just around the corner.

The Extended Producer Responsibility holds companies accountable for their products – from cradle to grave.

The concept is based on the principle that the polluter pays. This means that companies are financially, judicially, and practically responsible for ensuring that their waste is handled responsibly and that the materials are reused, recycled, or disposed of as environmentally friendly as possible.

But that is not all.

Companies must also collect and report data on quantities, collect and handle waste from their products from the end-users (most of whom usually are households), provide materials to collect waste, inform consumers and partners of their effort etc.

“Handling the Extended Producer Responsibility is a massive undertaking – especially for a single company,” says Morten Harboe-Jepsen, CEO of Emballageretur who are preparing companies for one of the most comprehensive producer responsibilities yet – the one on packaging.

Important deadline for packaging approaching for 41.000 companies

It is estimated that a total of 1.1 million tons of packaging will be covered by producer responsibility, costing the approximately 41.000 affected companies DKK 2.35 billion annually to handle.

From July 1st, 2025, the responsibility will come into effect, but already from April 1st of this year, companies must register and report how much paper, plastic, glass, tape, clips, etc. they expect to use in 2024, and whether it is packaging that ends up with businesses or private households.

“It is an enormous task that must be undertaken by companies both individually and collectively. If you haven’t already started preparations, I would recommend allocating resources within the organization to get started as soon as possible,” says Morten Harboe-Jepsen.

From waste to resources – and an opportunity to improve your business

At a glance, the Extended Producer Responsibility might seem to be all bureaucracy and no fun – but in reality, the producer responsibility is an opportunity to improve your business.

Take the upcoming producer responsibility for packaging.

For each company, the Producer Responsibility is structured so that the more packaging they use, the higher the fee they must pay. But equally important, the fee also depends on the type of packaging involved.

The financial framework for financing waste management in the producer responsibility provides discounts on the costs associated with the Extended Producer Responsibility if companies, for instance, use more environmentally friendly packaging types that are easier to reuse and/or recycle.

As a company, this will probably lead you to consider questions such as:

  • How you design your packaging – is your packaging too big resulting in you transporting a lot of air?
  • Which materials do you use in your packaging – can you switch or use fewer materials?
  • Can your packaging be used more than once – if so, as recycled, or reused materials?

This way, the Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging creates an economic incentive for companies to choose specific packaging types. It can thus be a stepping stone to optimizing your business in several areas while reducing the overall environmental impact, improving the collection, and handling of packaging waste, and strengthening the circular economy.

More on the way

While packaging soon will have its own producer responsibility, other areas such as electronics have had an Extended Producer Responsibility for years – and more are on the way.

Emballageretur is part of Retur, a family of producer responsibility organizations (PROs) that handles the Extended Producer Responsibility on behalf of companies operating in Denmark and Danish companies operating abroad in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK.

By handling the responsibility collectively Retur’s PROs ensure cost-effectiveness, economies of scale, development of innovative solutions, and tools, a strong stance in legislative negotiations, and legitimate data streams for their member companies.

Currently, Retur’s PRO’s Elretur, Batteriretur, Emballageretur, and Tekstilretur handle electronics, batteries, packaging, and textiles respectively thus offering a one-stop shop for companies who have one or more producer responsibilities – and they expect the family to grow in the coming years.

“Retur’s organization is based on almost 20 years of experience. After years of almost no development in terms of new Extended Producer Responsibilities, we are now witnessing a clear trend towards increased producer responsibility for waste management. For instance, an Extended Producer Responsibility for textiles and fishing equipment containing plastic is on the way. One for wastewater is also in the works. We expect even more to come in the future and Retur is ready to help companies handle every aspect,” says Morten Harboe-Jepsen.

Be sure to join Emballagereturs Panel on the upcoming Producer Responsibility for packaging and visit Emballageretur’s stand at LOOP, where you can get all your questions regarding the Extended Producer Responsibility answered.