EPR consultation launched on the draft Main EPR Regulations – have your say!

We are currently in the implementation phase of packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), with both the 2023 EPR Data Reporting Regulations and Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 (“the 2007 Regulations”), in force for 2024.

 As both sets of Regulations are in force, businesses obligated as a large organisation under EPR and obligated under the 2007 regulations will have 3 data submissions of the packaging placed on market in 2023:

  1.  two bi-annual submissions under the 2023 EPR Data Reporting Regulations
  2.  one annual submission under the 2007 Regulations

 and will also have a nation data reporting requirement on 2023 packaging later in 2024.

Consultation on the draft Regulations

Following our recent updates to members on the deferral of the Main EPR Regulations and the EPR waste management fees by one year to 2025, Defra have launched a consultation to gather views on how the approach set out in the Government’s consultation response of March 2022 has been reflected in these draft Main EPR Regulations (“the draft Regulations”), and to receive feedback on the operability of their implementation arrangements. The consultation closes on 09 October 2023.

The overall policy intention of packaging EPR has been consulted on previously, so this consultation is really focused on gathering feedback on the clarity of the draft Regulations, particularly around the definitions of the responsibilities of obligated producers, exporters, reprocessors, compliance schemes, local authorities and councils, the Scheme Administrator, and the regulators, identifying any ambiguities in the text that could be improved.

What is included in the draft Regulations?

The draft Regulations set out obligations on producers to continue to collect and report data. These requirements mirror the requirements in the 2023 EPR Data Reporting Regulations but with some further amendments to address small gaps in the data collection and reporting obligations. The draft Regulations also include provisions to:

  • Enable the appointment of a Scheme Administrator
  • Allow a Scheme Administrator to raise fees from obligated producers to cover local authority costs for the management of household and binned packaging waste, the costs of public information campaigns, and its operational costs
  • Set recycling targets on producers covering all types of packaging waste (i.e., primary, shipment, secondary, tertiary, household and non-household)
  • Require certain types of packaging to be labelled to indicate recyclability
  • Introduce a mandatory takeback and recycling requirement for fibre-based composite cups
  • Require all reprocessors and exporters of packaging waste to register with a regulator and to report data, and, for those that choose to, to become accredited and issue recycling evidence
  • Enable regulators to effectively monitor compliance and enforce the draft Regulations.

Areas of the draft Regulations under consultation

The consultation aims to gather views on the following areas of the draft Regulations:

  • The clarity of the definitions of the responsibilities placed on producers, exporters, reprocessors, compliance schemes, the Scheme Administrator and the regulators, the key considerations for local authorities and the identification of any points of ambiguity
  • The feasibility of the operational processes required to meet the obligations as set out in the draft Regulations as they apply to your organisation
  • The completeness of the draft Regulations as the basis for the implementation of EPR for packaging as per the confirmed policy intent
  • Any unintended consequences of the draft Regulations as a whole

There are 34 questions within the consultation on the draft Regulations, some of the questions include:

Q6: Do you agree that we should work towards excluding packaging that is designed only for use by a business from the payment of household disposal cost fees?

Obligations on producers:

Q7: Do the draft Regulations ensure all types of packaging, which is not exempt packaging, are subject to recycling obligations?

Q8: Are producers recycling obligations clear?

Q9: Are the obligations on each type of producer clear?

Q10: Are the obligations on all types of packaging clear?

Q11: Are there any areas in which two producers may be obligated for the same item of packaging?

Compliance schemes:

Q12: Is the relationship between a Packaging Compliance Scheme and its members clear?

Q13: Are the obligations that a Packaging Compliance Scheme assumes on behalf of its members clear?

Scheme Administrator calculation of producer disposal and administration fees:

Q18. Do the draft Regulations allow for the Scheme Administrator to accurately apportion fees to producers?

Q19. If your organisation collects and recycles packaging waste, do you understand if you would qualify for off-setting under the draft Regulations?

Q20. Do you think the offsetting provisions should be extended as part of future reforms to EPR?

Q21. Do the draft Regulations provide appropriate safeguards for compliant producers, including with regards to the impact producer non-compliance may have on producer disposal fees?

Let us know your views, to incorporate into Beyondly’s response

Following this consultation and any amendments required are made to the Draft Regulations, they will replace the 2023 EPR Data Reporting Regulations and the 2007 Regulations, coming into force for 2025 as the one set of Regulations for packaging compliance.

Let us know your views!

Our Regulatory Affairs Leader, Emma Wilkinson, will be submitting our response for the 9th October 2023 closing date. If you would like to have your views incorporated into our response, please get in touch with us on packaging@beyond.ly