Retail Compass Autumn 2022

Extended producer responsibility for packaging: How to prepare

Published on 12 October 2022

What is happening?

In the Spring 2022 edition of Retail Compass, we reported on the Government's consultation on regulations covering extended producer responsibility (EPR) which places the financial burden of dealing with packaging once it becomes waste on producers as opposed to taxpayers.

From 1 January 2023, depending on whether you are classified as a small or large organisation, EPR requires producers to:

  1. Collect and submit data on the packaging they handle and supply;
  2. Pay a waste management fee; and

Buy packaging waste recycling notes (PRNs) or packaging waste export recycling notes (PERNs) to meet their recycling obligations.

Why does it matter?

As set out in our previous article, EPR is not confined to packaging manufacturers as might be the initial impression.

Government guidance published on 7 June 2022 confirms that EPR applies to UK organisations (excluding charities) which have an annual turnover of £1m or more, are responsible for over 25 tonnes of packaging in a calendar year and carry out "packaging activities".

Retailers and brand owners are brought within the scope of EPR regulations as "packaging activities" includes:

  • Packaging own-brand products to sell to UK consumers;
  • Using a third party to package and sell own-brand goods to UK consumers;
  • Importing own-brand and third-party packaged products into the UK to sell to consumers, unless doing so on behalf of a third party (such as a supermarket); and Allowing third parties based outside the UK to sell packaged products or empty packaging through an online marketplace that you own.

EPR regulations impose differing requirements for 'small' and 'large' organisations as set out in the table below. Small organisations are those with either: (i) an annual turnover of £1-2m that handle and supply more than 25 tonnes of empty packaging or packaged goods in the UK, or (ii) an annual turnover of over £1m that handle and supply between 25-50 tonnes of empty packaging or packaged goods in the UK. Large organisations are those with an annual turnover of £2m or more that handle and supply over 50 tonnes of empty packaging or packaged goods in the UK.    

Small organisations

 

 

Large organisations

 

  • Record data about empty packaging and packaged goods you handle and supply in the UK from 1 January 2023.
  • Once registration opens in 2024, register for the EPR for packaging online service.
  • Pay an annual fee to the environmental regulator from 2024.
  • Between 1 January and 1 April 2024, submit data about empty packaging and packaged goods you handled or supplied in the UK throughout 2023.
 
  • Record data about empty packaging and packaged goods you handle and supply in the UK from 1 January 2023.
  • Register for the EPR for packaging online service from April 2023.
  • Pay an annual fee to the environmental regulator.
  • Buy PRNs or PERNs to meet your recycling obligations.
  • Submit data about empty packaging and packaged goods you handled or supplied in the UK every 6 months i.e. for the January to June 2023 period, data should be submitted between 1 July and 1 October 2023. For the July to December 2023 period, data should be submitted between 1 January and 1 April 2024.

 

What action should you take?

With data collection requirements under the EPR fast approaching, retailers that meet the criteria outlined above may, if they have not already, consider taking steps to prepare for the data reporting aspect of EPR by:   

  • Considering whether they are a small or large organisation and which EPR requirements will apply to them;
  • Putting the necessary processes in place to ensure that they are able to accurately collect and record the data required;
  • Identifying the relevant deadlines for data submission and ensuring that the most appropriate individuals and teams in the organisation are aware of these.
  • Considering how suppliers may be able to assist with data collection requirements; and
  • If you are a group company, consider whether to register under the EPR as one organisation or on behalf of their entire group of companies. If registering as one organisation, subsidiary companies should register individually if they meet the above listed requirements.

Statistics

The world is producing twice as much plastic waste as it did two decades ago, of which only 9% is currently successfully recycled. (Source: OECD Global Plastics Outlook Report

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