Government defers EPR packaging fees and launches consultation on draft regulations 

by | Aug 2, 2023

In March 2022, the UK Government and Devolved Administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales introduced Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Last week, it was announced that brands and businesses will now have to pay fees from October 2025, a year later than initially anticipated

EPR is part of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) wider waste management plans and is designed to ‘incentivise appropriate use of packaging and the use of recyclable and reusable packaging, and in turn encourage more domestic reprocessing and overall system improvements and savings’. 

Most corporations that use, package, and trade plastic goods have been collecting extensive data on their use and waste systems since the initial introduction of the legislation last year and have been expecting to make the first payments next year. 

However, in an update to the Gov.UK website, it has been announced that: ‘EPR for packaging fees have been deferred for a year. (Businesses) will not have to pay any EPR for packaging fees in 2024. However, (they) must still follow this guidance and report packaging data for 2023.’

This has received mixed reactions, with some stakeholders highlighting the stagnation of better waste systems as increasingly damaging to the environment.

However, it was previously reported that despite the legislation being introduced, 60% of people don’t know what Extended Producer Responsibility is. Thus, the delay could be beneficial for businesses that need to implement data collection streams and have questions regarding the new expectations. 

What are the next steps for EPR legislation?

To finalise EPR regulations, DEFRA has launched a consultation to ‘gather views on how the approach set out in Government’s consultation response of March 2022 has been reflected in the draft Regulations, and to receive feedback on the operability of the implementation arrangements.’

The Department is particularly keen to hear from beauty businesses regarding whether they fully understand what is expected when it comes to recording packaging data, and the different expectations across their supply chains.

Running from 25 July to 9 October 2023, the online survey will gather your thoughts on where different fees should be allocated, the clarity of messaging, and the Packaging Compliance Scheme.

 

The British Beauty Council is calling beauty brands, and consumers, to take part in the consultation. You can complete the survey here, or you can contact the Council’s policy team directly here

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