NESREA to begin enforcement of EPR policy

Environmental Sanitation

Environmental Sanitation

THE National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) has announced its determination to commence the enforcement of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy in the first quarter of 2016.

This was disclosed recently by the agency’s Director-General, Dr. Lawrence Anukam, at a 2-day workshop with stakeholders organized in Lagos to further sensitize companies in the food and beverage sector, in particular, on the EPR operational guidelines released by the agency last year.

Anukam said the EPR is “the extension of the responsibility of producers, and all entities involved in the product chain, to reduce the cradle-to-cradle impacts of a product and its packaging”.

He stressed that the primary responsibility of EPR lies with the producer, who makes design and marketing decisions. He noted that, as a concept and tool, the EPR has become a global best practice operated successfully in several developed and developing countries to deal with the environmental, social and economic challenges of packaging waste.

While deploring what he described as the slow response by industries generally to the policy, the Director-General acknowledged and commended the exemplary commitment to the EPR programme demonstrated by the Nigerian Beverage Alliance, a growing coalition of beverage companies founded by Coca-Cola in collaboration with Nigerian Bottling Company, Nestle Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries and Seven Up Bottling Company. He said the Alliance is one of only two Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs), along with Resource Renewable Limited, currently recognized by NESREA as the EPR implementation platforms for their respective member companies. “I thank the Nigerian Beverage Alliance for their contributions towards the hosting of this forum. This is an indication of their commitment towards tackling the waste problem in the country,” he said.
The Director for Inspection and Enforcement at NESREA, Mrs. Miranda Amachree, who made a presentation on the operational guidelines of the EPR policy, disclosed that the agency has held similar engagements with stakeholders in the automotive and ICT sectors and will continue to avail any opportunity to further discuss the policy with various sectorial groups as part of its preparatory measures for the policy enforcement.

The Coordinator of the Nigerian Beverage Alliance and Public Affairs & Communications Director for Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Clem Ugorji, said the Alliance decided to sponsor the workshop in order to provide the much needed opportunity for NESREA to clarify some grey areas of the EPR operational guidelines and get feedback from the sector, so that the agency and the industry can work together to achieve the EPR implementation and enforcement in a non-disruptive manner.

Ugorji presented a case study of the Nigerian Beverage Alliance as a model framework for industry collective action on packaging waste recycling. The Alliance, he said, evolved from the PET bottle-to-fibre recycling programme that Coca-Cola pioneered in 2005 in collaboration with Alkem Nigeria Limited and which has recovered and recycled over 1 billion PET bottles. He explained that Coca-Cola’s three-phase strategy was to first create a proof-point for packaging recycling in Nigeria which was achieved through the partnership with Alkem; then to build a coalition of beverage companies on recycling, which was achieved in 2012 under an MOU arrangement with the current members of the Alliance; and ultimately to leverage the industry coalition to build a sustainable nationwide recycling economy which will now be achieved with the incorporation of the Nigerian Beverage Alliance as a Producer Responsibility Organization to manage the EPR initiatives of member companies in the food and beverage sector.

According to Ugorji, the Nigerian Beverage Alliance is proof positive that companies can compete fiercely in the marketplace and at the same time forge a common front to promote sustainable environment and communities.

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