EPR overview

 

What is Extended Producer Responsibility?

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) builds on the current Producer Responsibility (PR) legislation and introduces a further obligation for the business placing material on the market to pay the full net costs of the collection, sorting, recycling and disposal of waste.

International organisation The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) who work to build better policies for better lives, define EPR as "an environmental policy approach in which a producer's responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product's life cycle."

Why EPR?

As part of the Resources and Waste Strategy released in late 2018, the UK government has committed to work towards the objectives of the EU’s Circular Economy Package (CEP) and to reform the Producer Responsibility system for packaging waste.

Reform of the current packaging waste legislation in the UK is most imminent, however, we can also expect to see EPR come into force for other waste streams in the coming years. This is in line with the CEP which targets how products are designed, promotes circular economy processes, encourages sustainable consumption, and aims to ensure that waste is prevented and the resources used are kept in the economy for as long as possible.

Current position & resources

The new packaging waste regulations are currently expected to launch post-2023 and some of the key changes to come with EPR are as follows:

Modulated fees – Producers will pay fees based on the environmental / recycling attributes of their products; for example, how widely recycled / recyclable a material is. This will require more in-depth data on materials (polymer types etc) than the current system.

Full net cost recovery – The total cost of collection, sorting, recycling and disposal will be paid for by producers. It is estimated that the current system accounts for anywhere between 10% and 30% of this figure.

Single point of compliance – Unlike the current system, whereby every party handling packaging picks up some form of obligation, one single party in the waste management chain (likely either the brand owner or retailer) will be the obligated.

Compliance costs under the new EPR regulations could increase significantly and the modulation of fees will make the environmental performance of packaging impact its compliance cost. Packaging that is not considered 'widely recyclable' is more likely to have increased costs.

Government consultation

A second consultation for EPR for Packaging closed on 4 June 2021, which focused on government’s proposals for introduction of an EPR. We are awaiting a response from The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to the consultation views submitted and will share details of that upon release in our EPR hub. 

Summary videos of key EPR consultation proposals

We have created five minute EPR support videos for packaging producers summarising each key section of the EPR consultation.

Further support

If you have any queries about the EPR proposals, need support in preparing for EPR, and/or how the upcoming changes may affect your business, contact our Policy Team on 01756 794 951 or email at marketing@complydirect.com