By Johnny Sebastian Viteri. March, 2022.
About this Brief
This brief is one of a series of case studies examining Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Systems in various locations around the globe. Produced by the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers and WIEGO, this series looks at how the growing adoption of EPR policies and systems worldwide can either threaten or improve livelihoods for informal waste pickers who have traditionally been key players in recycling and reuse.
EPR systems come in many shapes and forms and can cover a range of materials. Their primary purpose is to hold producers responsible for the environmental and economic cost of the packaging and products that they put into the market. Some systems are mandatory policies, while others are voluntary initiatives led by companies or consortiums.
Waste is not just an environmental issue—it is a valuable commodity. For waste pickers, EPR systems can be controversial because they shift both power and profit to producers or other waste sector actors, often introducing new actors who compete for materials. But in places where waste pickers are organized, EPR can be a positive disruption that has the potential to finance new or existing waste picker activities. Thus, EPR can present both risks and opportunities for waste pickers and their organizations. Without a clear understanding of EPR in different contexts, however, it can be difficult for waste pickers and their organizations to know what to demand when an EPR system is being proposed or how an existing system should be changed.
This series aims to close that knowledge gap by sharing on-the-ground, lived experience of local waste pickers and their organizations in places where some form of EPR exists. Each study concludes with a set of recommendations for improving the system to better accommodate waste picker integration.
This document presents the vision of a collaborator with RENAREC (Red Nacional de Recicladores de Ecuador, the country’s National Network of Waste Pickers), based on his experience with Ecuador’s Deposit Return System for PET Plastic Bottles.
Cita esta publicación como: Viteri, J. S. (2022). Ecuador’s Deposit Return System for PET plastic bottles (El Sistema de Depósito, Devolución y Retorno en Ecuador para las Botellas de Plástico). Global Alliance of Waste Pickers and WIEGO.
Please cite this publication as: Viteri, J. S. (2022). Ecuador’s Deposit Return System for PET plastic bottles (El Sistema de Depósito, Devolución y Retorno en Ecuador para las Botellas de Plástico). Global Alliance of Waste Pickers and WIEGO.
Top – Photograph taken in the historical centre of Quito in 2014. 63-year-old Maria Culqui has worked in informal recycling for 45 years and belongs to the inclusive recycling services association Recicladores Unidos.
Bottom – PET material (plastic bottles) recovered from the streets of the historic centre of Quito by informal recyclers who are members of the inclusive recycling services association Recicladores Unidos to be transported, processed and marketed
Photos: Johnny Sebastian Viteri< Back to Case studies < Casos de estudio < Études de cas < Estudos de Caso