Defra states packaging EPR timelines remain ‘unchanged’

Following rumours that packaging EPR implementation is set to be delayed, Defra have stated that their timelines remain unchanged. 

Numerous reports have recently been published surrounding producer and government concerns over implementing policies that may increase the cost of living for consumers, and that this may result in a delay to the waste management fees under EPR, set to start in April 2024.  

This aspect of the reforms seeks to reimburse local authorities for the collection and management of packaging waste, via producer fees invoiced by a scheme administrator. Once implemented the waste management fees are expected to be modulated after the first year in relation to how recyclable the packaging is. This will penailse hard to recycle packaging through higher charges for producers. 

Deliver environmental goals 

Rumours of a delay have been further heightened after a report published by the National Audit Office states that, after a review of government’s progress on waste and resource policy, effective long-term plans have not been put in place.  

However, Defra have recently said that their position is ‘unchanged’ and EPR will be rolled out as planned. A department spokesperson has stated 

 “Work is ongoing to deliver our Extended Producer Responsibility scheme and we’re continuing to engage closely with manufacturers, retailers, and packaging companies on the design of the scheme. We will continue to work with industry as we finalise plans to ensure that the schemes will deliver our environmental goals.” 

Although the statement does not reference timelines, an earlier statement from Defra in June does:  

“The plans for EPR, which will be phased in from 2024, play a key part in delivering those goals. All four nations are taking a joint approach to introducing this scheme and it will operate UK-wide.” 

EPR data reporting remains unchanged

Any delay to the EPR system would require a new statutory instrument to be passed, to counter the existing EPR legislation referencing full EPR implementation in 2024 - something that is outside of Defra’s remit and would have to be actioned by senior ministers in Whitehall.  

Alongside the introduction of the waste management fees, another key change under the reforms is more frequent and detailed producer packaging data reporting requirements. This aspect of EPR is not expected to be delayed, and the first government deadline of 1 October this year for large producers remains unchanged. 

Is your packaging data due? 

Data reporting for large producer began in July 2023 for the first EPR data submission, to report packaging data on H1 2023 activities. Ecosurety can help make the process efficient and mitigate impact to your business with our range of expert submission support.  

If you’re an Ecosurety member, please look out for email communication from us outlining your next steps for data reporting. 

If not yet a member of Ecosurety, please contact us today to find out how we can support your business. 

Written by Louisa Goodfellow Published 14/07/2023 Topics Packaging
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