UK pEPR draft regulations sent to EU and WTO

The Draft Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging and Packaging Waste) Regulations 2024 have been sent to the European Union today (1 May 2024), in respect of Northern Ireland under the Windsor Framework, and their labelling requirements were notified to the World Trade Organisation.

Defra said this is a “significant milestone” in its commitment to introducing packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (pEPR) from 2025.

Following agreed notification periods at the WTO and the EU, packaging EPR legislation will be brought before the UK Parliament later this year, with the aim of it coming into force across the UK by the 1 January 2025.

Producers are required to report the amount of packaging they place on the market for the period of January-December 2024. Defra said that this reporting will then be used to charge producer fees and pay local authorities for managing packaging waste for the period of April 2025-March 2026.

Following feedback from across the value chain to the packaging EPR consultation, there have been changes to the regulations, which include:

  • The addition of recycling targets for 2025-2030
  • Introducing a provision where if a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) has not been established by 01 January 2028, producers of drinks containers made of PET plastic, aluminium and steel will be subject to the full range of Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging (pEPR) obligations until a DRS is operational for this material
  • Amending the labelling provisions so that all labelling obligations will now come in to force on the 01 April 2027
  • The removal of provisions on binned waste and litter payments which will now be delivered through a separate regulation
  • The Scheme Administrator (SA) must now provide guidance on the methodology used and factors considered in assessing net efficient disposal costs and effectiveness
  • Revising the household packaging definition to widen the criteria which allows packaging to become exempt from being classified as household packaging, and therefore exempt from disposal cost fees

‘Important step’

Director of policy and innovation at Ecosurety, Robbie Staniforth, said: “Having worked closely with government to design the system over the last few years, it is great to see that they have finally notified the WTO and EU.

“This an important step in the process of bringing a system into existence that will motivate packaging producers to use more recyclable packaging or refillable packaging systems in the UK.”

Steve Gough, chief executive of Valpak by Reconomy, added: “This latest development provides much greater certainty over the timings of the Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging draft regulations and increases the likelihood that it will be up and running by the start of next year.

“Producers should take advantage of this certainty to absorb and familiarise themselves with the legislation to start preparing for its introduction. Embracing the legislation proactively will open up opportunities for stakeholders to thrive rather than just survive with the new rules, while placing circularity at the heart of their offering.”

To find out more about changes in the sector, visit the National Letsrecycle.com Conference on 6 June at QEII Centre in London. To book tickets to attend or for more information please click here.

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