Understanding your responsibility around packaging
If you think you don’t have to worry about the new packaging waste regulations, because you don’t place 50 tonnes of packaging on the market, it might be time to think again.
The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) comes into force this year with businesses that place 25 tonnes or more of packaging on the market and having a turnover of £1million+ required to register and report their packaging data by the 1st of October this year.
What is the EPR?
The EPR is a new UK legislation that will replace the current Packaging Waste Regulations with a phased implementation from 2023. It requires producers to pay the full costs of dealing with the waste they produce from when it is placed onto the market, through to the end of its life.
The national cost to business of the scheme is expected to go from £230million last year up to £1.7billion next year.
Under EPR packaging producers (brand owners) will be responsible for the entire cost of recycling the packaging they place on the market including the cost of collection, treatment, and of course recycling.
So who is responsible?
The obligation to pay sits with the brand owner. So how does that work for you? As an example, we supply Eurocell profile with our packaging, so we are responsible for this (the protective tape, stillage, etc). If the packaging is branded with your name, you are responsible, regardless of who put the packaging on.
If you add any unbranded packaging, for example, corner protectors, glass protector sheets or your own stillages, then you become responsible for this.
There are different requirement for different size businesses so to assist producers in understanding whether they are obligated under Extended Producer Responsibility, DEFRA has developed an online EPR Obligation Checker. This interactive tool will help you access whether you meet the requirements.
The level of financial obligation increases for packaging types that could make it to the domestic bin, so you would pay more for protective tape as this could make it to a household bin and less for a stillage that would never go into the domestic waste system.
From next year you will also need to report on what difficult to recycle materials are being used (e.g. polystyrene, sticky back plastic, etc), as these will be charge at a higher rate.