Packaging Reform, EPR, Consistent Collections, Deposit Return Schemes & Packaging Packaging Tax

The UK Government published expected consultations on Packaging System Reform

These reforms will have a significant impact on the way the UK packaging system operates, and will impact producers’ packaging obligations and costs.


Within Defra’s “Our Waste, Our Resources: A Strategy for England” document were a number of commitments to consult on changing the operation of the packaging waste system in the UK to increase the quality and quantity of packaging waste going to recycling. Defra is leading the implementation of the UK Packaging Waste Regulations reform, introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for beverage containers and legislating for Local Authorities to collect a consistent set of recyclable materials.

The HMRC is leading efforts to implement a tax on plastic packaging.

Glass Bottles

Defra has published a summary of the consultation held in spring 2021 on updated proposals for reforming the Packaging Waste Regulations to see principles of extended producer responsibility (EPR) introduced to the UK’s packaging waste management sector.

The summary document outlines crucial reform decisions, providing industry with a greater degree of clarity as to what policies will be implemented and the timing of their implementation. Insight on forthcoming DRS plans is also given.


Competition in Producer Responsibility report

The German Federal Competition Authority has produced a report to assess the impact of introducing competition into the German system for producer responsibility for packaging. It provides detailed evidence on the impact of costs to producers and other factors. There is also an Ex-Post Evaluation study of the effects of competition in the German Packaging system from 2017. These are the only report we are aware of which objectively assesses a real case study of the relative pros and cons of a competitive system versus the original monopoly system, which operated in German until 2004.

The German Federal Competition Authority report provides some useful insights to UK business and policy makers on the options for future compliance systems in the UK. Our Policy Team has produced a summary document.