An update on the incoming implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging (EPR).

Following wide-ranging talks with industry, against the backdrop of the current economic context, the new rules proposed to ensure packaging producers pay for the cost of recycling their packaging have been deferred by a year from October 2024 to 2025.

The Government plans to use the additional year to continue to discuss the scheme’s design with industry and reduce the costs of implementation wherever possible. In anticipation of EPR, many producers have already started to use less packaging and adopt easier to recycle packaging formats, and we expect this process to continue – ensuring that costs are not then passed onto households later on.

This decision to defer producer payments has been taken jointly with the devolved administrations and will provide industry, local authorities and waste management companies with more time to prepare to ensure the successful implementation of the scheme, guaranteeing it delivers on long term recycling goals while supporting households currently hit with the effects of high inflation.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

“We’re determined to transform the way we collect, recycle and reuse our waste materials so we eliminate all avoidable waste by 2050 in a way that works for households and consumers. That’s better for our environment.

We are also listening to industry and ensuring our work to tackle inflation and to drive up recycling go hand in hand, to make sure our reforms will be a success.

The announcement also delays the introduction of consistent recycling collections for households until “after the implementation of the EPR scheme”.

The CIWM believed the delay “will have a significant impact,” resulting in “less investment in recycling infrastructure due to a loss of confidence in the legislative framework, and a significant slowing of the UK’s green economy.”

Currently the UK is sitting 8th in the European league table for recycling rates, according to Eurostat, with a recycling rate of 44.6%. The 50% recycling rate target set by DEFRA for 2020 has not been achieved and it’s likely we will fall short in 2025 (55%) and 2030 (65%)

Much of this is reliant on more household waste recycling but businesses across the UK will also need to play their part. Stay in touch and we will update you on the situation as it progresses.

In the meantime, contact us to find out how you can increase your recycling rates or take our 360 waste test to see how you are currently shaping up and future proof your business.