Defra publishes draft EPR statutory instrument

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has published a Statutory Instrument (SI) in parliament setting out how businesses will submit data for the upcoming extended producer responsibility (EPR) reforms.

EPR
The draft legislation laid in Parliament sets out how businesses have to record data in 2023, ahead of the rollout of EPR in 2024 (Picture: Shutterstock)

This will mandate obligated producers in England to collect data from March 2023, or January if they have the data, so they can begin to cover the cost of managing this packaging from 2024.

The SI is thought to be significant for without it, the Environment Agency would have no powers to force companies to collect data.

It is seen a precursor to the government’s EPR response document which will move the new EPR system forward. Many in local government and industry are likely to hope that publication of the SI it will mean the response is due soon, and that the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, is keen to progress the legislation. At the heart of the EPR proposals is for industry to fund the collection of recyclable packaging by local authorities.

This data is required to calculate the fees that these producers will be required to pay

  • Defra

SI

SIs are a form of legislation which allow the provisions of an Act of Parliament to be subsequently brought into force or altered. It was laid before parliament yesterday (22 November), and published online today.

It explains that the data reporting legislation will come into force on 28th February 2023 and will extend to England and Wales, but apply to England only. The legislation will be called the  ‘Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) Regulations 2022’.

The explanation document published alongside the SI explained that the legislation requires producers of packaging to collect and report data on the amount and type of packaging that they place on the market.

“This data is required to calculate the fees that these producers will be required to pay to cover the cost of managing this packaging as part of the EPR for packaging scheme which is planned to start in 2024.”

The provisions in the regulations will require producers to collect and report their packaging data from March 2023 (or from January, if they have this data).

Charities are excluded from the regulations, as is reused packaging, production residues from the production of packaging, any packaging or packaging materials exported from the UK, reused secondary or tertiary packaging and “packaging which is scheme packaging”.

Detail

Defra explained that “more detailed information” on the amount and type of packaging that is placed on the market by producers is required in order to calculate the EPR fees that producers will pay once the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulations 2023 are in force.

These new regulations will require producers with an annual turnover of £2 million, who handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging each year, to report data on the amount and type of packaging they supply. It will also increase the frequency of this reporting from once to twice per year.

Packaging
Packaging producers are obligated to submit data from March 2023 at the latest (picture: Shutterstock)

In addition, it will create a new ‘de minimis’ threshold, whereby producers with an annual turnover of £1 million, who handle more than 25 tonnes of packaging per year (but who do not surpass the “upper” threshold), will be required to collect (but not report) this data.

The introduction of a new de minimis threshold is estimated to bring an additional 1,823 businesses into scope of the obligations.

Producers

Producers subject to the data collection obligations must maintain records for each data collection period, and retain for at least 7 years after the end of the data collection period. This can be done through a compliance scheme.

A producer must inform the Environment Agency as soon as is practicable upon becoming aware that one or more relevant circumstances apply or are about to apply to them.

Local authorities

The SI also sets out that the Environment Agency must publish a list of the items which are collected for recycling from households by each relevant authority in England responsible for waste collection; and a list of those items which are collected for recycling from households by more than 75% of the relevant authorities.

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