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Enabling Reuse in Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes for White Goods: Legal and Organisational Conditions for Connecting Resource Flows and Actors

  • Dalhammar, Carl1
  • Wihlborg, Emelie1
  • Milios, Leonidas1
  • Richter, Jessika Luth1
  • Svensson-Höglund, Sahra2
  • Russell, Jennifer2
  • Thidell, Åke1
  • 1 IIIEE, Lund University,
  • 2 Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University,
Published Article
Circular Economy and Sustainability
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
May 12, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s43615-021-00053-w
PMCID: PMC8113794
PubMed Central
  • Full Paper


Extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes have proliferated across Europe and other parts of the world in recent years and have contributed to increasing material and energy recovery from waste streams. Currently, EPR schemes do not provide sufficient incentives for moving towards the higher levels of the waste hierarchy, e.g. by reducing the amounts of waste through incentivising the design of products with longer lifespans and by enhancing reuse activities through easier collection and repair of end-of-life products. Nevertheless, several municipalities and regional actors around Europe are increasingly promoting reuse activities through a variety of initiatives. Furthermore, even in the absence of legal drivers, many producer responsibility organisations (PROs), who execute their members’ responsibilities in EPR schemes, are considering promoting reuse and have initiated a number of pilot projects. A product group that has been identified as having high commercial potential for reuse is white goods, but the development of large-scale reuse of white goods seems unlikely unless a series of legal and organisational barriers are effectively addressed. Through an empirical investigation with relevant stakeholders, based on interviews, and the analysis of two case studies of PROs that developed criteria for allowing reusers to access their end-of-life white goods, this contribution presents insights on drivers and barriers for the repair and reuse of white goods in EPR schemes and discusses potential interventions that could facilitate the upscale of reuse activities. Concluding, although the reuse potential for white goods is high, the analysis highlights the currently insufficient policy landscape for incentivising reuse and the need for additional interventions to make reuse feasible as a mainstream enterprise.

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