Major steps towards Extended Producer Responsibility

  • 29 March 2023 29 March 2023
  • UK & Europe

  • Regulatory & Investigations

The UK Government is looking at reformative legislation that aims to reduce packaging.

Major steps towards Extended Producer Responsibility

As part of its environmental initiatives to achieve net-zero by 2050[1], the UK Government is looking at reformative legislation that aims to reduce packaging.

Whilst the UK is still very much in its information gathering stage, changes are fast on the horizon for businesses where Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is deemed to apply. Producers soon will be required to pay for both the collection and disposal costs of household packaging they supply when it becomes waste.

The rationale behind the changes is intended to encourage businesses to increase the use of recyclable materials, shifting the cost of waste away from taxpayers[2]. Undoubtedly the reforms that are in the pipeline will force some businesses to reassess the way they package their items and there will be clear incentives to shift towards the use of more recyclable materials to reduce waste.

What are the current requirements on businesses?

From February this year, businesses that meet certain requirements[3] are now required to collect and report packaging data (twice yearly to the Environment Agency) which will inform the new EPR regime which will be implemented. The first reports are due to be submitted in October 2023.

Given the breadth of businesses covered by the requirements, companies should be alert to the recent changes to ensure they are fully aware of their reporting requirements.

The idea behind the EPR regulations and reforms is to make businesses that bring packaging waste into the UK or create packaging waste under its brand name responsible for the lifecycle of that waste. The data being collected from businesses currently will undoubtedly have a massive impact on how the EPR regime is shaped for the future – the data will be used by the government to establish the packaging waste management fees that individual producers will pay in 2024.

What will the future EPR regime look like?

At present, UK businesses will need to consider how they will monitor and record packaging data as required by the EPR regulations to ensure accurate reporting.

In the long term, businesses will clearly need to assess how they can reduce their packaging waste, with consideration to reusable and more-easily recyclable solutions. Once the EPR regime is embedded, businesses need to be alive early on to requirements and ensure that they are well placed in good time ahead of the reforms to achieve compliance in due course.

[1] Net Zero Strategy: Build Back greener - net-zero-strategy-beis.pdf (

[2] Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow

[3] With a turnover greater than £2 million, and who handle more than 50 tonnes of packing each year


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