All EPR mandatory labelling pushed back to 2027

Defra confirmed at a recent EPR Business Readiness Forum that the EPR mandatory labelling requirement for all packaging will now start from 1 April 2027.

This means all primary and shipment packaging (associated with mail orders or online sales), including flexible and soft plastics, will have to bear OPRL’s ‘Recycle Now’ mark by the same date. Previously, all packaging except films and flexible plastic was due to have mandatory labelling in place by 31 March 2026, with films and flexibles included from 31 March 2027.

The Government decided on a singular obligatory labelling scheme under EPR in the consultation process in order to increase consumer clarity and reduce the complexity of packaging labelling systems in the UK, opting for OPRL’s scheme given its broad recognisability with UK consumers.

Easier to plan and understand

Policy and Innovation Director, Robbie Staniforth, says “Having one date for mandated recyclability labelling will make planning much easier for affected businesses. All companies should be able to ensure that packaging of all materials is appropriately labelled by April 2027, which will give citizens clear information on what to recycle.

Initially, it had been thought that there would be separate dates for flexibles plastics, compared to the other materials. However, a phased approach does not make sense in this instance. Having one date is much easier for all stakeholders to understand and make the necessary changes to the labelling of their packaging”.

The requirements will be bought in with the main EPR regulations this year, alongside published guidance. The guidance will include how producers below the EPR de minimis, exempt from EPR data reporting and fees but not the labelling requirement, should plan to ensure they are compliant within the next three years.

If you're an Ecosurety member and would like to find out more about the impacts of packaging EPR, visit our Ecosurety Hub knowledge articles for more information.

Written by Louisa Goodfellow Published 25/04/2024 Topics Packaging
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