On 25 July 2023 the UK government announced that increased extended producer responsibility (“EPR”) fees for packaging waste will be deferred by a year from October 2024 to 2025. In the same week the government also launched a consultation on the draft legislation to implement the new EPR regime which will include the introduction of mandatory packaging recyclability markings for the UK market.
The current producer responsibility regime for packaging waste has been operational in the UK since 1997 but has never placed the full costs of disposing of packaging waste on the businesses who supply and use packaging. Under the new EPR regime packaging producers will be responsible for the full costs of dealing with packaging and therefore be required to pay significantly increased fees to packaging waste compliance schemes.
The announcement from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (“Defra“) on 25 July to defer the increased fees has been made in response to concerns around inflation and the pressures faced by consumers and businesses in the current economic context. The decision will also provide industry, local authorities and waste management companies with more time to prepare for EPR implementation.
Following on from this announcement, on 28 July Defra launched a new consultation on the text of the draft Regulations that will implement the new EPR regime in the UK. Importantly, the revised EPR regime will make recyclability marking mandatory on virtually all packaging used for the UK market. This marking will consist of the ‘Recycle Now’ symbol and appropriate wording (either Recycle or Do Not Recycle). Specific instructions for recycling will need to be provided in some cases. These marking requirements are expected to apply from 31 March 2026 and the current consultation will close on 9 October.
If you have any questions about how the UK’s revised EPR regime for packaging will affect your business please do not hesitate to let us know.