Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) delayed

DEFRA has confirmed Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) will not be phased in from 2023.

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.

The original plans from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) proposed EPR would be phased into the system from 2023, as a transitional year, with a scheme administrator overseeing the reformed system. However, the delay means that the current Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system will continue throughout next year with no new timeline proposed for the implementation of EPR until post 2023.

The delay does not come as a surprise to the industry, with many beginning to get concerned over the lack of progression with EPR since the last consultation closed in 2021. The scheme administrator not yet being in place is a key dynamic that has influenced the decision to delay EPR, as well as the pending response from the government following the open consultation. The responses are only now going through the final approval at DEFRA, therefore we expect to see the release of DEFRA's response in the next few months.

Despite EPR being delayed, it is important not to forget the impending increased costs that many companies will incur once EPR is implemented. Companies should take this opportunity to better prepare for the implementation of EPR and utilise this period to understand their liability and mitigate any impending large costs.

For further information on EPR, visit our EPR Hub knowledge bank and available services here.