Implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Policy in Nigeria: Towards Sustainable Business Practice
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and biggest waste producer. By 2025, it is estimated that waste generation in Nigeria would make up 25% of Africa’s total wastes generation. To meet the needs of the growing population, extraction of virgin and raw materials has been on the rise to achieve higher production quotas – this raises the risk of the rapid depletion of such resources should unsustainable exploitation persist. On the other hand, waste management has remained a critical challenge in Nigeria; thus, daily, significant amounts of waste produced in Nigeria end up indiscriminately in the environment. This unsustainable, vicious twin cycle of indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources and poor waste management holds dire consequences for the environment and human health. However, with environmental awareness on the rise globally, there have been various policy attempts at entrenching sustainable use of natural resources, effective waste management, sustainable materials management and circular economy. One such is the Extended Producer Responsibility, EPR, also called the Buy-Back Scheme, BBS, which makes manufacturers responsible for the management of their post-consumer products. In 2014, the Federal Government, through the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), adopted and released guidelines for the implementation of EPR policy in Nigeria. However, being a relatively new concept in the Nigerian space, limited scientific literature exists on the framework and implementation of the policy in Nigeria. This paper examines the goals and benefits of EPR policy in Nigeria, the current framework for the implementation of the policy, scope, critical stakeholders and their roles, requirements for the EPR/Products Stewardship Plan, and limitations of the implementation of the policy in Nigeria. This is one of the first comprehensive studies on the EPR in Nigeria.