Obligated packaging producers in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland are now legally required to collect information on the amount and type of packaging they have supplied during 2023. Wales will follow shortly.
Government have reminded businesses that the new packaging data requirements became a legal requirement from today. Producers with a turnover of more than £2million, and who handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging each year, will also be required to report this information to the Environment Agency twice a year. The first reports must be submitted from 1 October 2023. Those classed as a small organisation meanwhile will be required to report the data annually, starting in 2024.
The ‘producer pays’ principle
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging places the responsibility for the costs of dealing with packaging waste, on businesses that supply packaging, moving costs away from councils and council taxpayers. The broader aim is to limit the amount of unrecycled waste going to landfill by making recycling easier for consumers.
Producers will be responsible to pay an EPR fee towards the costs, currently borne by local authorities, to collect and dispose of the household packaging they supply when it becomes waste. This will promote the reduction of packaging that they place on the market and improve its recyclability. This shift of cost is estimated to be around £1.2 billion per year across all local authorities, once EPR is fully operational.
Improving the environment
Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “We need to stem the flow of packaging which goes unrecycled and instead is lost forever to landfill and incineration.
“As set out in our Environmental Improvement Plan, these reforms will encourage businesses to increase their use of recyclable materials, shifting costs away from the taxpayer and supporting our work to protect the environment from the scourge of waste.”
Chair of the Advisory Committee on Packaging, Deep Sagar, said: “Packaging materials that are not recycled back into new packaging harm our natural environment. Councils have to spend more managing that waste and the public cannot enjoy spaces such as parks and high streets as they should.
“Extended Producer Responsibility will reduce that waste. It will make goods producers pay for collection of all packaging waste encouraging them to reduce or recycle more packaging. I look forward to supporting government and industry in making this smart policy work for the public and improving the environment.”
Are you ready for Packaging EPR?
Businesses are urged to prepare themselves for the reforms to cut packaging waste. The data they are required to begin collecting today will provide the basis for Defra to establish the PRN obligations and packaging waste management fees individual producers will pay in 2024, when packaging EPR comes into force.
You can access detailed knowledge articles about packaging EPR and how to prepare for it, in the new Ecosurety Hub website.