Circular Economy: capturing value in waste through extended producer responsibility policies

Project: Research

Project Details


Transition to a resource-efficient circular economy requires effective end-of-life management for products. Currently there are several challenges to closing material loops, including capturing value from waste and managing competing interest for waste with high value. Adding to the complexity is the fact that value can take different forms, including economic value for the sale of recycled materials, value for avoided environmental harm and strategic value for certain critical materials. This research project focusses on how value in waste products is currently dealt with, examining products with a generally negative economic value (lamps) and products with more positive, but still fluctuating, value (white goods, cars, and mobile phones). Regular interaction with key stakeholders provides insights into practice to determine the dynamics of when and how value can arise, values currently not captured, and the role of policy. The project builds a framework to analyse different dimensions of value and evaluates the implementation in selected member states of two EU directives based on extended producer responsibility (EPR) - one on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and the other on End of Life Vehicles. EU experience is compared to policies and practices in U.S. and Japan. The aim of the project is to suggest how EPR policies can better capture value from end-of-life products.
Effective start/end date2018/01/012022/09/30

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences
  • Engineering and Technology

Free keywords

  • Circular economy
  • extended producer responsibility (EPR)
  • value in waste
  • value analysis
  • policy analysis