In March this year we published an article regarding the new scheme that the Government is introducing called Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging (EPR). EPR aims to make businesses that handle and supply packaging waste responsible for the full cost of recycling and waste management for such packaging materials when they reach the end of their lifecycle, via reporting obligations and payment of an EPR fee.
The EPR scheme was initially going to be introduced in 2024. However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has recently announced the deferral of payment obligations under the scheme from October 2024 to October 2025. It is important to note that other obligations and timescales under the scheme have not changed, and businesses are still required to follow the published guidance and report their packaging data for 2023 at the appropriate time.
The revised timelines are said to allow the Government to work alongside producers, businesses, local authorities and other stakeholders to finetune the workings of the scheme and to ensure effective delivery of its ultimate environmental goals.
Under the scheme, affected businesses will be required to pay EPR fees to cover the costs of managing and recycling the waste they are putting into the ecosystem through business activities, which should in turn encourage businesses to reduce the amount of packaging they produce and incentivise adoption of sustainable business practices.
To finalise the EPR Regulations, DEFRA has launched a consultation to gather views on how the Government's proposals in its March 2022 response to earlier consultations have been reflected in the draft Regulations, and to receive feedback on the operability of implementation arrangements. The consultation closed on 9 October 2023 and we will report on further developments in due course.