An Overview of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) – and how we can help

An Overview of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) – and how we can help

14th May 2024

In 2021, the UK Government announced its Net Zero Strategy so by 2050 ‘the  total greenhouse gas emissions would be equal to the emissions removed from the atmosphere, with the aim of limiting global warming and resultant climate change. Part of this commitment includes updating regulations concerning packaging and recycling, referred to as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

The intention of the new regulations is to encourage use of recycled and recyclable materials in packaging, improve recycling facilities in the UK, improve the rate of recycling and reuse and reduce litter.

There are a number of changes including that the scope of producers and materials has widened, meaning obligated producers are now required to pay the full costs of packaging throughout a product lifecycle. Previously these costs fell on local government, either completely or partially.

To help our customers, we’ve put together a brief overview below, along with links to the Government website. These regulations are being updated so do check professional legal and compliance advice, as there are penalties for non-compliance.

Which businesses are affected

If your organisation handles, uses or supplies packaging, it is likely to be affected, so long as it:

  • has a turnover of £1 million of more
  • is responsible for 25 tonnes or more of packaging per year

Please note, charities are not included.

The scope is very broad and includes all organisations using packaging including companies who:

  • supply empty packaging
  • place goods into packaging
  • package their own branded goods for supply to the UK market
  • import products in packaging
  • hire or loan out reusable packaging
  • own an online marketplace

Regulatory timelines

Although intended to come into force this year, the complexity and breadth of the legislation means it is now due to come into force on 1 st January 2025, with the draft regulations sent on WTO and the EU on 1 st May 2024 and the reading in the UK Parliament due in autumn 2024.

Again, do sign up for Defra updates to keep informed.

The requirement to collect and submit data has already started

Currently organisations affected are collecting and submitting data for the current regulations and, simultaneously, doing the same for the forthcoming EPR requirements.

Data for 2023 should have been submitted already and if not, the deadline is 31 st May 2024 to avoid penalties. The current plan is for the EPR data to be the basis of reporting and fees from 1 st January 2025 with initial payments due in October 2025.

The data to be collected

Companies affected will need to collect and submit data on the packaging handled and supplied; pay a waste management fee and buy packaging waste recycling notes (PRNs). Your organisation you may also need to submit ‘nation data’, reporting where packaging is disposed.

Your data submission must include information about the: packaging activity, packaging material and weight, packaging type and waste type.

How ASC Direct can help

EPR is designed to reward using the minimal amount of packaging needed with the most sustainable material. ASC Direct is here to help. We can make sure you are using exactly the right amount of material to minimise waste but also protect your products. You can use Box Builder to order your packaging or speak to one of our team who can make sure we’re providing the most appropriate option.

As with all legislative matters, please check your obligations with your own compliance and legal departments. More information is available on the GOV website:  click here

Defra have provided an online tool for businesses to check their obligations. This tool provides guidance and does not retain data. You can also sign up for regular newsletter updates.