Defra has reaffirmed its commitment to introducing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation by 2023, after a “typo” in its Waste Plan suggested it would be rolled out a year later.
The department published its waste plan yesterday (20 August), which it is legally obliged to do and aims to provide an up to date overview of waste management in England.
On page 23, the Plan stated that “the Resources and Waste Strategy sets out how we plan to reform the current ‘Producer Responsibility’ scheme 2024”.
This sparked some confusion, however when approached by letsrecycle.com, the department explained that this was a “typo”, and the government is still working towards the 2023 deadline set out in the strategy.
The department also said the error would be rectified soon. “The date in the Resources and Waste Strategy remains our goal,” a Defra spokesperson stated.
As outlined in the table below provided in the Resources and Waste Strategy of 2018, Defra pledged to introduce EPR for packaging by 2023, with the asterisk indicating that this is subject to consultation.
The strategy said EPR is “a powerful environmental policy approach through which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-use stage. This incentivises producers to design their products to make it easier for them to be reused, dismantled and/or recycled at end of life”.
“We consider EPR to be a crucial tool in moving waste up the hierarchy, and stimulating secondary markets,” the strategy document reads.
The below points were highlighted as a core “set of principles” that will act as a framework for “reviewing our existing producer responsibility schemes”.
Formal second stage consultations on three areas if the strategy including EPR, will now take place in early 2021 after they were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic (see letsrecycle.com story) . There still remains some concern with the packaging sector and beyond that implementation of the new EPR scheme might be delayed by at least six months because of knock-on delays caused by the pandemic.
Responses to an initial round of consultations were published in July 2019 (see letsrecycle.com story).