DEFRA release 2 highly anticipated packaging consultations on EPR & DRS

Today (24 March 2021), two of the three expected packaging consultations as part of the government’s UK Resources and Waste Strategy have been released; Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging and Deposit Return Schemes. The third related consultation for Waste Collections Consistency is anticipated in due course

Both released consultations will run for a 10-week period, instead of the 12 weeks expected, closing on 4 June 2021.

You can view full consultation details and respond to government on the following links:

The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging consultation is collective with the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland governments. The consultation for Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme is for England, Wales and Northern Ireland only as Scotland have already had their DRS legislation passed, but its implementation is not due until the same expected date as the rest of the UK in Q3 2022.

This second consultation on EPR for Packaging and Packaging Waste is focused upon government’s proposals for introduction of an EPR, which is a further requirement on the current producer responsibility system, to obligate businesses placing material on the market to pay the full net costs of the collection, sorting, recycling and disposal of packaging waste.

It is also the second consultation for introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland which will focus on the implementation of a DRS with the aim of reducing littering, boosting recycling levels and moving towards a more circular economy.

The Waste Collections Consistency consultation expected to be released imminently also, will be seeking views on plans to make local authorities collect the same kind of materials (such as plastic, glass, metal, paper and cardboard) for household recycling and on improving how businesses recycle in England.

This is likely to be the last opportunity to formally feedback to government on a range of changes that will have significant implications for the future of waste management and recycling in the UK.

In response to this development, our Policy Leader Martin Hyde commented;

“Whilst it is good to have sight of the DRS and EPR consultations that will shape the future of waste management and recycling in the UK, it is disappointing that DEFRA have been unable to publish the consistent collections framework consultation. This third consultation is key in tying together the progress made so far since the launch of the Resources and Waste Strategy in 2018. Given the parallel nature of these consultations, it is imperative that there is at least some crossover in the release period. A shorter, 10 week time-frame will make stakeholder engagement more challenging than in 2019’s consultations, however, it is paramount that businesses respond to these consultations directly as they will ultimately lead to significant reform to the type, material and format of packaging available on the UK market.”

FREE Webinar: The future of packaging waste in the UK - Joining the legislative dots

Tuesday 13 April at 10am

We are running this free webinar when we will summarise the content and aims of these consultations in detail, explain how they are connected and provide support on responding to government to ensure maximum influence as a packaging producer.

Click here to register your free place

We will be providing a further, more in-depth summary of the consultation content for both areas on our website in due course, alongside additional support resources, so please keep an eye on our 'Latest' website page and social media channels to access this when published. Furthermore, we will be getting in touch with our packaging scheme members shortly with all the key information you need to know including supporting resources and advice for responding to government.

For any queries regarding these consultation releases and for support on providing responses to government, please contact and our policy team will be happy to advise.