Main EPR Regulations deferred until 2025 and consultation launched!

On 25 July 2023, DEFRA confirmed that EPR waste management fees due to be raised on obligated household and commonly placed in public bins packaging have been deferred until 2025.

Consequently, DEFRA announced the ‘Main EPR Regulations’ have also been deferred, this being the only regulatory way to delay the EPR waste management fee aspect of EPR implementation. As a result, Defra have confirmed that the existing Producer Responsibility Regulations will remain in place in 2024 as a means of ensuring that the current PRN system continues to fund the recycling of packaging when it becomes waste.

As a result of this update, the 2024 compliance year will look slightly different with producers required to:

  • Comply with the Producer Responsibility Packaging Waste Regulations which have been in force to date, and which require the submission of the previous calendar year’s data in the data tables format. If you are obligated under these regulations, you will be required to submit your 2023 calendar year packaging data in the data tables format in 2024 as you have done previously. This will form your PRN obligation and will be your only financial obligation in 2024.
  •  Comply with the 2023 EPR Packaging Data Reporting Regulations: If you are obligated under these regulations, you will be required to submit 2023 placed on market packaging data in the new EPR format. This will be as two bi-annual submissions for large organisations and one annual submission for small organisations. There will be no financial obligation associated with the submission of this 2023 packaging data.

For some producers, this will mean that 3 data submissions are required for the 2024 compliance year.

The Government intends to use the additional year to further engage with industry and continue to discuss the design of the EPR scheme administration and will be looking to gather feedback in their recently launched 10-week consultation, published 28 July 2023, Draft producer responsibility obligations (packaging and packaging waste) regulations 2024’

The purpose of the consultation is to gather views on how the approach set out in the Government's consultation response of March 2022 has been reflected in the main EPR draft regulations, and to gather views on how the regulations will work in practice. Beyondly are analysing this consultation and will communicate further information to members shortly, however we understand the following details have changed since March 2022:

  • Wood reuse targets to be pushed back by two years to “from 2026”
  • For export PRNs, proof of receipt in destination country must be available for assessment, not to claim every PERN
  • Items in scope of Scottish DRS (which in 2023 EPR data reporting do not need to be declared), will need to be reported under EPR going forwards until the DRS is live
  • Producers who self-manage packaging waste will have to report in which UK nation the waste was collected and sent for recycling

There has also been a variety of issues identified, which will be explored through stakeholder engagement outside of the consultation:

  • Assurances for producers that local authorities will spend producer payments on packaging waste services
  • The Scheme Administrator governance arrangements to provide for greater sector involvement
  • Material ownership by producers
  • Packaging re-use obligations
  • Payments for the management of packaging waste from businesses

Whilst this update from Defra will result in additional data reporting requirements in 2024, taking a positive approach to this news, DEFRA have confirmed the decision to delay payments for EPR by a year will form part of the efforts to ‘reduce inflation’. Emma Wilkinson, Regulatory Affairs Leader at Beyondly also comments:

“It provides producers and industry with the much-needed opportunity to budget and prepare for the EPR waste management fees that will now be introduced in 2025. We want a system that is robust, efficient, and successful at increasing recycling rates, accelerating us towards a circular economy, that will ultimately drive us towards decarbonisation. So, we encourage all stakeholders to seize this opportunity to ensure the best chance of success at implementing EPR for packaging, and Beyondly is here ready to support this collective effort.”

We ask our members to continue with their data submissions for the first EPR reporting deadline, with our packaging team on hand to provide support.

Should you wish to join us, get in touch with our solutions team on solutions@beyond.ly, our team is ready to support you through these changes and welcome you to our circle.