Efforts on the part of Defra to provide industry with further clarity on eco-modulation for packaging EPR fees, or ‘modulated fees’ have been gathering pace. But what are modulated fees, when are they being introduced, and importantly, what role do they play within the EPR packaging reforms? Henry Smith explains all in his latest blog...Read More
Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging Waste – EPR Scheme
We can help your business to navigate data challenges to ensure it is ready for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) will see the full cost of managing household waste shift to producers, in the hope of delivering a more circular economy for packaging where greater quantities of recyclable waste are reprocessed into valuable, high-quality secondary resources.
EPR will also change how non-household packaging waste is managed and its reprocessing is financed.
Is your business obligated under the EPR for Packaging Waste Regulations?
Your business has a packaging waste obligation if ALL of the following points apply:
- Its annual UK turnover exceeds £1 million, AND
- It has a physical presence in the UK, AND
- It handles more than 25 tonnes of packaging and/or packaging materials
Visit our Packaging Sellers’ Obligations web page to find out more about sellers’ obligations under EPR for packaging.
What will EPR mean to affected businesses?
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) reforms encompass a range of new legislation being introduced in the UK. Some of the legislation has already come into force in 2023, whilst other aspects of the EPR reforms are being phased in over the next few years. It is a reform of the existing UK Packaging Waste Regulations, and in 2024 responsibility under EPR for reporting and the UK Packaging Waste Regulations will run in tandem.
Obligated businesses should be aware of the following key points:
- From October 2025, producers will have greater financial responsibility for household packaging waste.
- Additional data concerning packaging type and recyclability will need to be collected and reported every 6 months. The first report is due by October 2023
- Data reporting requirements will become more complex
- Introduction of eco-modulation of EPR fees* could see producer compliance costs increase if you use hard or costly to recycle packaging from 2026
- There will be a separate reporting obligation to report packaging supplied by UK nation
- From 1 April 2026, all packaging (except for flexible films) will need to display a binary recyclability label declaring either “recycle” or “do not recycle”
For a more detailed explanation of how Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging will work and what it might mean for your business, request a copy of our white paper.
*Eco-modulation of fees – The EPR fees obligated businesses must pay will increase or decrease depending on the recyclability of the packaging they place onto the market. Those using difficult-to-recycle, not recycled, or unrecyclable packaging, will likely see higher costs associated with complying with the reformed Packaging Waste Regulations.
Valpak EPR Ready service
EPR reporting will begin in late 2023. Data submitted in late 2023 will relate to packaging sold across the first half of 2023. If you are affected, it is imperative to act now to ensure there is visibility of packaging material flows and of materials used within the business. It is also important to make yourself aware of which materials are cost and / or environmentally efficient, as doing so will help to ensure that additional costs to your business are kept to a minimum.
We can provide the following services to help ensure your business is in the best possible position ahead of the implementation of this new legislation:
- Free EPR webinars
- Free, high level cost implication assessment
- Detailed EPR assessment, to include cost modelling and benchmarking
- Data collection service via Data Insights (where data is not sufficient)
- Data visibility via the Valpak Insight Platform
- Consultancy – A detailed look at assessment recommendations, end market research and advice on next steps
Our service is bespoke, which means we can offer as much or as little support as required. Contact us today!
Our 25 years’ experience means we not only have the data knowledge and systems in place to assist with the varying requirements of this legislation, but also the experience to handle compliance on our customers’ behalf.
- Access to fully trained experts who can be contacted for help and advice
- UK Green Dot licence fee waived
- Provision of a certificate of compliance
- Registering the business with the appropriate environment agency
- Representation at Government level
- Regulatory changes and consultations updates
- Access to a unique, online data submission system, which offers interactive guidance
- Free regional training workshops
- Free compliance reviews
- Industry news e-bulletins
- Access to a dedicated Members’ Area of the website
- Option to integrate your top 50 products for FREE with the Bower Recycling App
- Consumer Information Obligations (CIOs) met via recycle-more.co.uk
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation places significant accountability on product and packaging manufacturers, importers, and brand owners to reduce the environmental impacts of their products and packaging from cradle to grave and requires these businesses to financially contribute towards the costs associated with the collection, recovery, and disposal of the materials, as well as consumer awareness campaigns.
Obligated businesses should begin to gather packaging data in line with EPR guidance from 1 January 2023.
For large producers, the first EPR data report is due by 1 October 2023, with the second submission – and the first for small producers – due by 1 April 2024.
Obligated producers will only incur enhanced fee obligations under EPR from October 2025 – fees in addition to PRN procurement costs -, for packaging placed on the market in 2024.
View the Government EPR for packaging implementation timeline here.
Obligated businesses that helped to place packaging on the UK market in 2023 must report their activities to regulators in Q1 2024, per current rules. This is in addition to any reports they may be obligated to complete under EPR. This report per the current rules will determine the size of the recycling obligation a producer has in 2024, which must be satisfied through the obtaining of PRNs across 2024.
In 2024, Valpak members will continue to be billed as current, likely quarterly.
Large producer – any business which handled/supplied 50 tonnes or more of packaging in the previous calendar year and had an annual turnover of £2m or more.
Small producer – any business with a turnover in the previous calendar year between £1m-2m which handled/supplied 25 tonnes or more of packaging, or any business that had an annual turnover of £1m or more which handled between 25 and 50 tonnes of packaging. Businesses not meeting one of the small producer definitions are not obligated under EPR.
Any packaging handled and/or supplied in the UK contributes to reaching the obligation threshold for EPR. This means that packaging exported from the UK, or that is a result of your business operations overseas, does not contribute to this threshold. Similarly, any turnover registered on a business’s latest filed UK accounts contributes to meeting the registration thresholds for EPR.
Small producers must submit data once annually, starting in Q1 2024. Small producers incur no financial obligations to support recycling (i.e., they do not need to purchase PRNs or pay EPR fees).
Large producers must submit data every six months on the packaging they have placed on the market, starting in Q3 2023. In the future, large produces will also have to pay enhanced fees towards the waste management costs of the packaging they report.
All those exceeding the small producer thresholds must also, once a year, report packaging supplied by them to its end user directly by which UK nation the customer was in.
Self-managed waste comes in 2 distinct categories – consumer and organisation waste.
Self-managed organisation waste refers to any packaging waste generated at sites under your control that you send for recycling. Reporting this packaging waste does not directly impact your financial obligations under EPR. Self-managed consumer waste is any household packaging waste not commonly collected by local authorities for recycling (75% or more) which an obligated producer collects and arranges to be recycled themselves. It is also any reusable packaging within a dedicated reuse system run by an obligated producer, that has reached end of life and the obligated producer has arranged the collection and recycling of.
The corresponding weight of both types of self-managed consumer packaging is able to be discounted from a producer’s EPR fee obligation provided they have evidence confirming the weight of packaging that has been recycled.
Being obligated as a brand owner or as an importer makes little difference to a business’s obligations under EPR.
However, it does affect which data field on the EPR submission the business must input its data into. In this scenario, a business would report any branded packaging under the brand owner category, and any unbranded packaging around the branded packaging under the importer category.
PRN fees represent a contribution by a producer of any packaging to the costs associated with recycling. Contributions go directly to reprocessors or exporters accredited to issue PRNs. As PRN prices are determined by market forces, PRN contributions by producers can be price-variable.
EPR fees will be set at levels that ensure producers of household packaging additionally cover the net costs to local authorities of collecting and managing household packaging waste. As producer funding will be distributed to local authorities by the scheme administrator, dependent on costs they incurred during the previous quarter, EPR fees are likely to be fixed across a compliance year.
Those placing non-household packaging onto the UK market will need to report it in line with the new EPR requirements and purchase PRNs in line with their subsequent recycling obligation.
Non-household primary and shipment packaging won’t incur EPR fees where the obligated producer can provide evidence to regulators that the packaging is being supplied directly to a business end user.
All primary consumer packaging will have new labelling requirements under EPR. By 1 April 2026, all primary consumer packaging except flexible plastic films, will have to state ‘recycle’ or ‘do not recycle’.
From 1 April 2027, this requirement will also apply to flexible plastic films. Use of the ‘Recycle Now Loop’ has been licensed for this by government.
EPR fees payable by producers will first be subject to eco-modulation from October 2026. This means the characteristics of packaging placed on the UK market in 2025 will dictate the modulation factor applied to producers’ EPR fee invoices in 2026.
Where producers use packaging that is more costly to recycle than other similar formats or is unrecyclable, this will incur higher EPR fees than similar types of packaging that are easy to recycle.
At least initially, producers are not expected to report the recyclability of their packaging, only more details on materials used, such as format. Instead, the EPR administrator will determine this based on the data submitted for 2024.
Make an Enquiry
To find out more about how we can help your business to prepare for Extended Producer Responsibility, contact one of our experts on 03450 682 572 or complete our enquiry form.