Closing Material Loops through Extended Producer Responsibility: Implementing the Waste Management Code in Georgia

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The establishment of a modern waste management system is one of the priority goals for the Government of Georgia. To achieve this, a new Waste Management Code and a number of secondary legislations have been adopted. In addition, the National Waste Management Strategy (2016-2030) and the National Waste Management Action Plan (2016-2020) were approved in April 2016. The implementation of these legal and policy documents, which are in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement (AA) and best international practices, requires intensive work and an iterative consultation process from all stakeholders. 

The Waste Management Code (2015) introduces Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) as an overarching policy approach which will become obligatory for producers operating in Georgia from December 2019 onwards. EPR is an internationally applied principle according to which producers are held financially and/or physically responsible for the professional treatment and disposal of generated wastes. This helps to improve recycling and reduce landfilling of materials. Since implementation modalities of EPR vary considerably across different national contexts, these need to be duly defined in accordance with the characteristics of the product systems in question and legislative framework of the target country.

On behalf of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), adelphi supported the Government of Georgia in the implementation of the Waste Management Code and EPR through a number of different activities. A particular emphasis was on the operationalization of EPR for waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE or e-waste). To this end, adelphi contributed to the design of the data collection methodology for assessing national e-waste flows, conducted a financial feasibility study of e-waste recycling in Georgia and provided recommendations for complementary economic mechanisms and policy instruments for e-waste management. In addition, adelphi drafted an EPR scheme for e-waste management and co-developed an EPR manual for policy makers to provide general guidance on the potential implementation modalities of this approach in Georgia.